Pay teams in merger move to save cash for council

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TWO Yorkshire councils yesterday announced plans to merge their payroll functions in a project that will save one of the authorities up to £150,000 a year.

Doncaster Council will transfer 50 of its payroll staff to neighbouring Rotherham Council on April 1, a move which officers said would make wages operations at both organisations more “efficient”.

No jobs will be lost on the Doncaster side according to finance chiefs, but Rotherham Council was unable to give details of what the plan meant for its staff or budget.

Doncaster Council predicted the merger would eventually save the authority £150,000 a year, but said for the first two years, start-up and other costs would cancel that our.

Finance director Simon Wiles said: “To become a 21st century service, we need to consider different approaches to the way we currently work.

“Sharing HR Transactional Services with Rotherham Council is the first project of its kind in South Yorkshire and offers many opportunities to enhance service efficiency and effectiveness for the benefit of customers.

“We are keen to link in to the systems that Rotherham use and the move is mutually beneficial for teams in both Doncaster and Rotherham because we can benefit from each other’s best practices.”

According to both councils “a rigorous scoping exercise and service specification assessment” was carried out before the decision was made to merge the two departments.

According to a statement released by both authorities yesterday, the assessment process “demonstrated that the Rotherham service represented good value for money and will also give the Doncaster staff improved access to powerful management information systems that will support their work.”

Rotherham Council’s director of human resources, Phil Howe, added: “This is a really terrific opportunity to work collaboratively with our near neighbours to ensure we can deliver cost-effective, high-quality services to both authorities in the future.

“We look forward to welcoming our Doncaster colleagues to our new offices here in Rotherham.”

Doncaster Council said Rotherham Council would not be providing any revenues or benefits services to Doncaster and there were no plans for them to do so.

Jill Higgs, assistant director of human resources for Doncaster Council, said: “This is a mutually beneficial arrangement that gives us immediate access to a modern integrated HR and payroll system without the usual development costs and time associated with the purchase of a new system.”

martin.slack@ypn.co.uk