As a result of the 2014 National Commission of Audit, shared services began to receive increasing attention amongst those involved with Australian public administration. However, little seems to be known about the term and its theoretical origins. In addition to this lack of understanding of what is meant by shared services, the term was also linked with another perennial in public administration: the one-stop shop. The two terms are often confused and the difference between them little understood. This article seeks to provide some clarity to this discussion over shared services and one-stop shops through both an exploration of the evolution of the terms and through a consideration of a variety of Australian case studies. We conclude that the two terms mean very different things and have very different theoretical underpinnings. We also conclude that these concepts are often employed for purely political considerations, and are employed inconsistently with government rhetoric.