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Who we are

Overview and history

Overview

The NSSO is an Irish Shared Services provider for Human Resources, payroll administration and finance services for Government Departments and Public Service Bodies (PSBs). We follow an accepted business model that is common in most large organisations and Government administrations around the world.

Since its establishment in 2012 as part of the Public Sector Reform Programme, the NSSO has evolved to become one of the biggest shared services operations in Ireland.

Our Shared Services functions apply the Government’s Human Resources, payroll, and finance policies and procedures on behalf of our Government clients and all key decision making remains with the client in each Government department or Public Service Body.

The NSSO has over 800 Civil Service staff based in six offices across Ireland.

Our History

Shared Services as a business model has been used in the Irish Civil Service for many years. In 2011 the Public Service Reform plan that called out new Shared Service models as an opportunity to deliver reform and innovation across the Public Service.

In 2012, the Government of Ireland gave a mandate for the implementation of Shared Services to support the Public Service Reform Plan. The first Shared Services centre (formerly called PeoplePoint, now HR Services as part of the NSSO*) started operating in 2013. This was joined by Payroll Services later the same year.

In 2014, the Government established the National Shared Services Office* (NSSO) as an administrative office within the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform.

Drafting of the National Shared Services Bill (to establish the NSSO as an independent Civil Service Office) commenced in 2016 and in July 2017 this was signed into law by President Michael D. Higgins.

The National Shared Services Office is now a statutory Government office established under the National Shared Services Office Act 2017 and became a statutory Civil Service Office on 1 January 2018.

You can read the full NSSO Act 2017 Here

The NSSO is now leading on Shared Services strategy and the implementation of Shared Services in the Irish Civil Service, under the aegis of the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform. It is directly responsible for delivering business Shared Services within the civil service and, as part of its wider leadership role, it also provides expert guidance and support to other public service sectors in progressing their Shared Services commitments.

In April 2022 the NSSO launched Finance Services, its third shared service offering to Public Service Bodies. This new service introduced the standardisation of accounting practices and new automation technology to produce standard accounts for central Government and Offices, delivering improved financial management information to ensure greater efficiency

Mission, vision and values

Our mission as a Civil Service Office is to deliver an excellent service to Civil and Public Service staff (our end-users) on behalf of our client Public Service Bodies and deliver value for money to citizens by providing excellent corporate business services and data insights to Government.

Our Vision

Our vision for the NSSO is to be a customer-focused, innovative, and learning organisation, setting the standards for and providing consistently high quality shared services and data insights that support business needs. Trusted by others, we will build a strong culture that is collaborative, performance-driven, and people-focused.

Our Values

Our values, building on the Civil Service Code of Standards and Behaviour, are:

  • People first: The key to our success is our people, and we are committed to putting people, performance, and development at the centre of what we do.
  • Process and digital innovation next: We strive for process simplicity, and we foster a mind-set that is alive to continuous improvement.
  • Service excellence always: Our aim is to deliver operational improvements and an agile customer experience rooted in our desire to be better and to meet our customers’ needs.

Our ambition is to be an increasingly progressive, trusted and professional organisation and a great place to work.

Strategy, business plans and reports

The NSSO Statement of Strategy 2021 – 2023 summary is as follows:

  • Deliver Excellent Shared Corporate Services
  • Engage, Enable, and Empower our People
  • Invest in New Digital Technologies
  • Champion Shared Services Across the Public Sector

Statement of Strategy

NSSO Statement of Strategy 2021-2023

NSSO Statement of Strategy 2019-2022

Business Plans

2021 NSSO Business Plan

2020 NSSO Business Plan

2019 NSSO Business Plan

2018 NSSO Business Plan

2017 NSSO Business Plan*

2016 NSSO Business Plan*

2015 NSSO Business Plan*

*Note: The 2015, 2016 and 2017 NSSO Business Plans are extracted pages from the Department of Public Expenditure & Reform’s annual Business Plans, as the NSSO was still part of that department at that time. To view the full DPER Business Plans for above years, please click Here

Annual Report

At the end of each year the NSSO publishes its Annual Report highlighting its achievements that year and its strategy and vision going forward.

Annual Report 2021

Annual Report 2020

Annual Report 2019

Annual Report 2018

Annual Report 2017

Annual Report 2016

Annual Report 2015

Our management board

The NSSO Management Board is the internal senior management of the NSSO. Its purpose is to provide strategic leadership, vision and direction for the Office, monitor performance against corporate plans, budgets and targets and also ensure that an appropriate governance framework operates in the NSSO.

Members of the Management Board are:

  • Hilary Murphy Fagan: CEO
  • Seán Reilly: Head of Corporate Services
  • John Ryan: Head of Employee Services
  • Bernie Kelly: Head of Finance Services

Our advisory board

The NSSO Advisory Board members include:

  • Niamh O’Donoghue: Chair
  • Dr Orlaigh Quinn: Secretary General at Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment
  • John McKeon: Secretary General, Department of Employee Affairs and Social Protection
  • Niall Cody: Chairman of the Revenue Commissioners
  • Jacqui McCrum: Secretary General, Department of Defence
  • Ken Slattery: Independent member appointed through PAS process
  • Colette Talbot: Head of Transformation - Group Finance at Bank of Ireland
  • Hilary Murphy-Fagan: Chief Executive, NSSO

Role of shared services

Shared Services consolidate administrative functions in areas such as Finance, IT and Human Resources (HR) which allows organisations and Governments to focus their resources on core activities leading to administrative efficiency and reduced cost.

The implementation of Shared Services projects is not without risk, but where they are successfully implemented they achieve increased efficiencies and effective service delivery.

Shared Services programmes often arise from an economic or financial need to reduce costs and improve efficiency, and this was the case in Ireland in 2011.

However, private sector and international public sector experience illustrates that the value of Shared Services stretches beyond the direct benefits of cost savings and efficiency, to other benefits such as providing better management information for better decision making and the freeing up of senior management resources to focus on policy development over efforts related to transaction processing.

Shared Services delivers on the Government’s vision for change and the Irish Civil Service is well positioned to continue to learn from the experiences elsewhere in both the public and private sectors.

The benefits of implementing Shared Services include:

  • Greater efficiency in service delivery through standardising and optimising business and transactional processes into one Shared Services operation
  • Increased focus on ensuring consistent high quality customer service Working in new ways
  • Utilising enabling technologies
  • The provision of a real opportunity to drive workforce reforms that will support the civil service into the future
  • Fostering of strategic capability which can drive capacity and capability building within organisations.

Taken together, these best practices are delivering better outcomes – in terms of service delivery, cost, transparency and accountability. They provide a foundation for a more efficient and effective public service.

Shared Services is also a positive source of foreign direct investment in Ireland. The IDA has produced a strategy for Shared Services (also called Global Business Services) for Ireland. You can read it Here

Shared Services Leaders Network

Shared Services in the Irish Public Service continues to grow and mature.

In 2012 the government mandated the use of Shared Services across the Irish Public Service. As a result there are Shared Service projects and operations in the sectors of Education, Health and Local Government in addition to the Civil Service. Shared Services projects are progressing within these sectors, in line with their individual Shared Services plans.

The NSSO has a leadership role in supporting the other public sector Shared Services offices and divisions as they advance their individual Shared Services plans. The Sectors Leaders Network, made up of the Shared Services leads from each the four sectors of Health, Local Government, Education and the Civil Service, meet regularly, working together to improve Shared Services delivery within the Public Service.

For more details on the progress made in the public service, please see our Annual Reports here NSSO Annual Report 2021