Cabinet asked to approve work to consider bringing key functions in-house

Oxfordshire County Council’s cabinet has discussed emerging proposals to invest in future technology whilst improving business efficiency.

The operational service model for finance, human resources (HR), procurement and payroll services are all being reviewed and cabinet was presented with emerging options to in-source key functions such as staff recruitment at its meeting on 18 April.

Cllr Glynis Phillips, Oxfordshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Corporate Services said: “We are planning for the future and want to explore the options for improving the efficiency of key functions such as finance, HR and procurement. We are investigating how we can improve efficiencies and decision making, which will transform services for future years.

“The cabinet has approved a new phase of work that will capture detailed requirements, review full in-sourcing and mixed delivery options and develop a business case to support any change.

“A lot of work has already been undertaken by officers to get us to this stage. The report to cabinet on 18 April outlined reasons for change including improving access to data and information, workflow controls and risk management as well as improving processes end to end and realising significant benefits.”

The paper to cabinet described a vision of: “Empowerment and accountability of the workforce through ownership and control of our data using best practice workflow self-service. Allowing the HR, finance and procurement services to focus on their key professional areas working with reliable and trusted data to inform decisions and reduce risk.”

The report detailed how arrangements introduced in 2015 saved the council £700,000 per year through economies of scale. It said that as the current partnership approaches the ten-year anniversary Oxfordshire County Council is taking the opportunity to review and look to the future, to next generation technology and service design.

Following the full review being completed, a final decision is currently expected in November.

The cost of this work is £1.57m but further capital funding will be required if and when the project moves to the next phase.