GK Transformation were commissioned by the Shared Services directorate of DEFRA (Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs) to undertake a Benchmarking exercise covering the range of corporate/back office services provided by the SSD:

  • Procurement
  • HR
  • Payroll
  • Finance (from Procurement to Pay)

The following support capability is provided:

  • Oracle System Development and Support
  • Oracle Customer Training
  • Enquiry Centre
  • Customer Account and Contract management
  • Project Management

The DEFRA SSD operates as a Shared Service Organisation, providing services to a range of government organisations including DEFRA and its network of delivery bodies including:

Defra and Network

  • Core Department
  • Natural England
  • Rural Payments Agency
  • Animal Health & Veterinary Laboratories Agency
  • Marine Management Organisation
  • Food Standards Agency
  • Veterinary Medicines Directorate
  • Joint Nature Conservation Committee
  • Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science
  • Food and Environment Research Agency

Other Government Departments

  • Food & Environment Research Agency
  • Department for Energy and Climate Change
  • Committee for Climate Change

As well as providing a comparison of costs against a range of service metrics, our analysis provided a comparative breakdown of service costs by cost type (direct pay, non-pay and overhead costs).

We were also asked to provide an impact analysis, looking at different activity scenarios to see how these would impact upon the cost comparisons and particularly the impact upon organisational overhead costs as a proportion of the overall service price.

Our Approach

Based on our proven benchmarking methodology, the our Transformation Team spent time with all of the SSD’s senior leadership team in order to ensure that we had a good understanding of the DEFRA SSD services. In this way we were able to ensure that the comparative analysis was based on like-for-like comparisons.


The resultant analysis provided a number of significant findings in relation to:

  • Overall service cost and how this compares with other public sector and commercial sector providers.
  • The impact of overheads and direct costs upon the overall cost and where these varied from those seen in the comparator organisations.
  • The effect of volume (transactions) upon the cost model and how this impacted upon the comparative cost position of the DEFRA SSD.

Delivered, as ever, on time and within budget, the Client Management Team from DEFRA SSD were delighted with the outcome