The Care Inspectorate, with the Scottish Social Services Council, choose shared service for centralised payroll and HR processes.
With staff costs representing 85 per cent of total operating expenditure, the Care Inspectorate had to better understand how to optimally use its people. Central payroll and HR services would lead to more informed decision-making from highly accurate management information.
Kenny Dick, head of finance and corporate governance, employed by the Care Inspectorate is also responsible for providing services to the Scottish Social Services Council (SSSC), with which the Care Inspectorate shares a building. Through these shared services arrangements a joint procurement exercise and public tender led to the choice of BT as the business-process-as-a-service partner for the two organisations.
Delivered from the BT shared service centres in South Shields and Jarrow, virtually all payroll and HR processes happen online with self-service now the preferred way of working. Supported by a service desk, everything’s speeded up and more efficient. But the big change is the increasing amount of information managers have at their fingertips; that’s triggering thinking about new ways of working.
The independent watchdog for social care in Scotland, the Care Inspectorate regulates over 14,000 services from care homes and nurseries to child minders. In a typical year it carries out 8,000 inspections, investigates 3,000 complaints and issues 60 enforcement notices.
With a diverse workforce, including full-time, part-time and voluntary staff working right across the country, electronic systems and processes are vital for business efficiency. The Care Inspectorate decided to seek a business-process-as-a-service (BPaaS) partner to run its payroll and create a centralised HR database. For shared service efficiency gains it chose to work with the Scottish Social Services Council, a close business partner with which it shares an HQ building in Dundee.
Kenny Dick, head of finance and corporate governance at the Care Inspectorate, says: “Staff costs represent around 85 per cent of our total operating expenditure so we need to understand how our people are deployed in terms of time and expenses, skills, and how we can use them to optimum benefit.” The focus was on improving accountability and efficiency with better decision-making informed by accurate management information.
The Care Inspectorate created a comprehensive specification, while leaving scope for bidders to propose elements that would add value. The resulting tender, issued via the Procurement Scotland portal and the Official Journal of the European Union, attracted 16 responses from which a shortlist of six potential vendors emerged.
Bids were evaluated using a scoring system featuring a weighting of 70 per cent against quality and 30 per cent on cost. “The BT response really showed that it understood what we needed,” says Kenny Dick. “There was a strong commitment to work in partnership and deliver a solution that would meet all our aims.”
The BT solution – supplied under a five-year contract with an optional two-year extension – comprises a fully managed payroll and HR management information service. Under the terms of the contract BT undertakes all payroll processing for more than 800 people. It’s also responsible for compliance with payroll legislation and dealing with third parties such as HM Revenue and Customs and pension providers.
The service, delivered from the BT shared service centre at Harton Quays in South Shields with a resilient site at Strathmore House in Jarrow providing business continuity, uses an integrated suite of technologies and services. This includes the Agresso Business World HR and payroll application from UNIT4 and a ServiceNow help desk adapted for use in business process service management and BACS services.
The solution features easy self-service capabilities that allow employees to access and enter information online. This empowers them to manage their own records; reducing central team administration.
Known within the Care Inspectorate and SSSC as Pulse, the solution creates a centralised record of all employee information. It even allows electronic documents, such as scanned certificates from third-party training courses, to be attached to employee records, so that all employee information is brought together in one central repository. Data only needs to be entered once. It then becomes available to both the BT payroll team and Care Inspectorate and SSSC HR staff in Dundee.
In addition to payroll processing, employees and line managers use Pulse to submit and authorise expense claims, enter planned and unplanned absences like holidays, sick leave and register overtime claims. In future people will also be able to request training courses and post health and safety reports.
“Self-service was one of our primary requirements,” says Kenny Dick. “With staff all over the country it was important for information to be entered and approved online, without people needing to be in the same office.”
The BT payroll and HR business process outsourcing solution has created a consistent secure employee database. This has enabled the Care Inspectorate to reduce operating costs, simplify administration and improve business efficiency.
BT was significantly ahead on quality. Even at these early stages we’re seeing real savings and efficiencies with the added benefit of better management information.
“It’s still early days but the system’s already proving its value and when it’s fully developed it will deliver all the functionality we require and more,” says Kenny Dick. “The BT team quickly got to grips with the intricacies of our terms and conditions and is providing high quality reliable service.”
Pulse can be accessed by authorised individuals over the internet, which maximises flexibility and usability. This in itself has enabled significant time-releasing opportunities. The replacement of paper-based processes, such as overtime and expense claims, has accelerated payments and yields more timely and comprehensive management data.
Part of the BT solution is an employee service desk for both telephone and email enquiries. This has transformed service management through the adaption of the ITIL Service Framework for HR and Payroll Services. The desk is staffed on a shared service basis delivering lower cost through aggregation of the workload with other BT clients. Set up to deal with enquiries about pay or expenses, the service desk also deals with technical difficulties or problems in using Pulse itself. Feedback on the desk’s quality and responsiveness has been very positive.
Kenny Dick concludes: “The implementation of a shared service model has given us some unexpected outcomes. The big change is the increasing amount of hard information managers have instantly at their fingertips. Touching all parts of our organisations, that’s triggered thinking about new ways of working.”