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Westminster's BT deal will overhaul HR and finance systems

David Bicknell Published 23 January 2013

Tri-borough partners Hammersmith & Fulham and Kensington and Chelsea likely to follow Westminster's plan to save £30 million and improve customer service

 

Westminster City Council has announced an agreement with BT to overhaul its HR and finance systems, with the goal of saving £30m.

The deal, which is also being recommended to Westminster's Tri-borough partners Hammersmith & Fulham and Kensington and Chelsea, will potentially mean a radical redesign of corporate human resources and finance services across the three authorities.

Westminster says the managed services procurement, which consists of a four-year framework and a call-off contract for services for up to five years with the right to extend by a further three years, will save millions of pounds for taxpayers and speed up service for residents. It added that the procurement has been undertaken on a tri-borough basis with full engagement with staff from Westminster, Hammersmith & Fulham and Kensington and Chelsea.

Council HR services will transfer in November this year, with finance following at the end of March 2014.

Westminster's HR and finance systems will now be managed by BT, which Westminster said would lead to greater efficiencies and the ability to introduce state-of-the art technology.

Hammersmith & Fulham's cabinet will meet on 11th February to select services from the framework agreement followed by Kensington and Chelsea on 21st February. Both are expected to follow Westminster's lead.

Westminster said the advantages of the deal include

- Replacing older computer systems in finance and HR departments
- Giving managers and staff the latest technology tools
- Cutting duplication and red tape, and allowing a close relationship with one company as service manager
- A faster and more efficient service that will benefit residents

Westminster said the eight-year framework is a further example of best practice by the Tri-borough partnership, which is already on course to save around £40 million a year by 2015 through sharing services. The deal has been structured to allow other London authorities to join, with a further 17 councils expressing an interest.

"A key element of this agreement is our partnership with the Agresso Business World local government platform," said Paul Ringham, vice-president for local & devolved government at BT Global Services. Ringham said that the Tri-borough's commitment had itself spurred interest from other local authorities.

Councillor Melvyn Caplan, Westminster City Council's cabinet member for finance and customer services, said: "This deal is all about back office efficiencies which enables us to protect and preserve our front line services.

"In the current economic climate, this type of transaction which provides outstanding value for money is crucial for Westminster council to enable us to meet our demanding financial targets. I'm confident it will lead to a more efficient service for the people our councils serve, so it really is significant beyond the world of the council office."

Barbara Moorhouse, Westminster City Council's chief operating officer, said: "Our partnership with BT will allow our staff to do the best job possible by giving them the optimum tools. We hope that the deal we have agreed with BT will be of interest to other London boroughs and beyond.

"We will now be holding detailed discussions with BT and with our own staff about how to implement this exciting initiative"

Neil Rogers, president of global government, BT Global Services, said: "This is a landmark deal for BT and provides a great opportunity to develop a true shared service across a number of London boroughs. We are confident that working with the three authorities will provide huge benefits for the councils and allow them to provide greater value for money for London's council tax payers."

 

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