The Cabinet Office has sold its 25% stake in Shared Services Connected (SSCL), which provides digital services to public sector organisations, for £82.3m. French IT consultancy Sopra Steria will take full control of the organisation, which it founded in partnership with the UK government a decade ago.
Sopra Steria said the purchase is in line with the original contract laid out when SSCL was launched as a joint venture in 2013.
What does SSCL do?
SSCL provides core and specialist digital solutions for the public sector, including pensions administration, HR and payroll, finance and accounting, recruitment and resourcing services, along with contact centre, data insight and procurement services. Clients include the Ministry of Defence, the Metropolitan Police Service and the Construction Industry Training Board.
Sopra Steria claims that, through these digital platforms, SSCL has been able to deliver savings in excess of £750m back to the public sector, “providing more funds for frontline public services”.
Last year, SSCL recruited 55,000 people for the government, supporting large-scale national resourcing campaigns for critical front-line roles across the public sector, contact centre services and essential support to manage the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. It apparently helped ensure the continuity of critical services and complex case management.
So far in 2023, it has recruited over 3,500 prison officers for the Ministry of Justice, is supporting the Home Office to double the number of asylum decision-makers and is reducing the time to hire critical-fill Border Force roles.
Its data platform promises to take information from public sector organisations and provide them with meaningful insights. It says it has 93,000 government users of its insights platform, which features 82 live applications and data models.
SSCL is now owned by Sopra Steria
Today’s news means it has become a wholly owned subsidiary of Sopra Steria. Management, employees, clients, or services of the business will not be impacted, a Sopra Steria statement said.
John Neilson, CEO of Sopra Steria, said: “With the shared service model now successfully embedded and proven, the Cabinet Office can realise its plan to sell its stake in the joint venture, making a significant contribution to the public purse and allowing Sopra Steria to continue our investment in the SSCL business.”
Neilson added that the progress the organisation has made is “recognition of the success of Sopra Steria and SSCL, our people and our plans to further enhance, innovate and grow our services on behalf of civil service users”.
Sopra Steria claims SSCL has trebled its revenues from 2014 to 2023, but did not disclose any figures.
The Cabinet Office said £45m from the proceeds of the sale will be reinvested to boost cross-government productivity, with an emphasis on digital skills.
Jeremy Quin, Cabinet Office minister, said: “The SSCL joint venture was set up to drive greater efficiency.
“The government is now realising its successful investment, securing additional value for the taxpayer and using it to make the long-term decisions to deliver the best public services and boost productivity across the Civil Service”