§ Mr. Cohen
To ask the Secretary of State for Health how much has been allocated to the NHS shared services project; how much has been top-sliced from allocations to health authorities to pay for it; what this project comprises of; if he will indicate the cost of each component; and if he will make a statement. 
§ Mr. Denham
For the financial year 2001–02, £31.5 million has been allocated to the shared services in the National Health Service project. This sum was transferred out of health authority allocations. The project comprises two elements. Firstly, the establishment of two shared service centre pilots, and secondly the procurement of a national integrated human resources and payroll system. The shared service centre pilots are expected to cost £8.5 million and the national integrated human resources and payroll system £23 million in 2001–02. The benefits to the NHS of a shared services approach will be better, more relevant and more timely information, with resources being released for frontline care. Shared services is an important platform it the modernisation programme for the NHS.