I noted an outraged headline recently in one of the tabloids that the taxpayers have paid a £1.2 bill for Human Resources in the Public Sector – at a time when the Government has been urging departments to reduce back office costs so that more money can be driven into spending on frontline services. Tory MP Priti Patel, who uncovered the spending, said the Government could save millions by centralising its HR Services
I took a look round, and courtesy of Xpert HR found some interesting data about the numbers of employees per HR personnel. There is a not a huge difference in the ratio between the public sector and private sector, with currently only a marginally higher number of employees per HR practioner in the public sector than the private, it also varies depending on the department and the numbers of employees employed. So it isinteresting to note that despite encouragement by the Governement for a move towards centralisation as a way to reduce costs since the beginning of the economic downturn, there appears to have been little movement towards this goal.
Bearing in mind the pressure being put on HR departments to deliver strategic goals, I think it would be sensible to assume any cost savings made by centralising or sharing services should be welcome. Centralisation, if well planned and managed, can help streamline resources, and increase the quality of service delivery. It can allow investment in useful HR automation tools that can free up HR practioners and allow them to focus on strategic and operational issues such as training, employee engagement, employee retention and performance management.
One of the ways any organisation can streamline their HR resources and free them to focus on more strategic tasks is with an automated workforce management solution that can deliver employee information around skills, absence (which still runs close to double that of the private sector) and compliance to organisational rules and regulations and Government legislation. A modern workforce management solution can also allow for greater flexibility in working hours, deliver employee self-service and initiate alerts around attendance, skills and compliance. Many private sector organisations already use a solution and it could be the next logical step for public sector organisations to take that would support Government objectives and help HR continue to deliver a quality service both to the organisation and the employees they are responsible for.