Software helps council to focus on the real issues

first_img Previous Article Next Article There’s nothing like an increase in council tax to focus the nation’sthoughts on public expenditure. Add to that the headline-hitting pensionerprotests and its clear that this year has served as a reminder to localgovernment never to underestimate public opinion. Jim Savege, head of strategic HR at Staffordshire County Council, acceptsthat accountability is very much a part of his role. “You need to have a sensitivity about such issues when you’re dealingwith the public purse, and we must balance quality of service and efficiency ineverything we do,” he says. Like all county councils, Staffordshire, is having to put the necessarytechnological infrastructure in place to meet Whitehall’s demands for‘e-government’. As part of a £10m investment in a SAP implementation, which isset to be used by a total of 3,500 core users across finance, procurement andHR, Staffordshire decided to take the opportunity to reconfigure its processesand services to maximise the value of the system. “We had six personnel teams and one payroll team that all did a similarjob, but in slightly different ways,” says Savege. “We decided toconsolidate the different processes into one consistent way of doing things. Wewere focused on providing a consistent service for every one of our 32,000employees.” This change included moving to an HR shared-service operation to serve itsvast workforce, which includes teachers and social service staff. Provision ofthe payroll service also extends to fire service and police personnel. HR technology solutions provider Pecaso, which was one of the SAPimplementation partners, introduced Staffordshire to its recently launchedBusiness Process Efficiency (BPE) tool. This takes a blueprint of anorganisation’s processes, costs, people, structure and technology and uses thatinformation to help measure and analyse its processes, as well as calculatereturn on investment. It fitted well with Staffordshire’s decision to undertakea major business process re-engineering project, and the council became one ofthe first users of the tool in either the public or private sector. “The BPE tool provided a flexible and robust solution to manage, trackand store processes,” says Savege. “Being able to communicateprocesses from this basis was vital with new teams, and it will continue to beused as the foundation for ongoing business process development. “For organisations that are undergoing significant process change, asmany local governments are, these tools make a good platform for success,”says Savege. The BPE tool provides specific rather then generic information, says WendyStambridge, HR consulting director at Pecaso. She explains that the companythen follows through with consultancy support to help HR departments makeimprovements and quantify any returns on investment. “All projects and changes require justification in order to happenthese days,” says Stambridge. “HR projects can be accused of being abit woolly around the edges, and this helps build a business case forthem.” Savege homes in on the HR shared service as a specific example of using thetool. “We reduced the number of people working in payroll and personnel by 20per cent (these people were redeployed within the organisation to meet otherpriorities) and the tool enabled us to run a quality check and produce harddata on whether 73 staff for the shared service was the right number ornot,” he explains. As well as mapping current processes, you can also map future processes andtest assumptions on numbers of staff or costs, for example. All ofStaffordshire’s HR processes are now mapped on to the system, explains Savege. “It means we can look at the data and use it dynamically to tell uswhether we need to move people to do a particular job. As far as value formoney goes, it means you have a much better handle on costs, which is good forthe bigger picture, but also good for the community.” Related posts:No related photos. Comments are closed. Software helps council to focus on the real issuesOn 4 May 2004 in Personnel Todaylast_img

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