Case study: Tony Blair has called on all local government to
be prepared to offer its services online to the public 24-hours a day by 2005.
Sue Weekes looks at how the borough of Haringey in coping with the e-government
You would have to be from another planet not to be aware that Prime Minister
Tony Blair is keen for all UK citizens to be online by 2005.
And being such a believer in electronic service delivery, Blair’s
‘e-government’ challenge dem-ands that all local government is able to offer
its services online to the public, 24 hours a day, within the same timeframe.
Given that, historically, local authorities are not exactly trailblazers when
it comes to leading-edge technology, meeting the e-gov challenge can be easier
said than done.
Haringey, one of London’s 33 boroughs, is currently in what it calls ‘the
blueprint stage’ of making the transition, which includes a major e-HR
But for Haringey the project is not just about installing new technology. It
is also about re-organising and re-engineering business processes to maximise
their benefit and this will include fully integrating personnel and finance
functions. "Our aim is to streamline business processes, increase and
improve our management information capacity and improve our business unit
managers’ accountability," says head of personnel Stuart Young. "It
will manage the back-room bureaucracy of the council."
Haringey’s approach serves as a model to any corporate engaged in a similar
process. It has assembled a 30-strong team, including a project board that
comprises the head of corporate finance, head of procurement and head of personnel,
a number of project champions from various disciplines, project manager, a
change management team, external consultants, as well as overall project
sponsor and director of finance Andrew Travers. "We have been keen to have
the best staff involved all along in the project," says Young, explaining
that the project team sits in a completely different room away from the
council’s day-to-day business.
"It has put pressure on those remaining but we know we needed to
resource the project fully and have provided cover for those working on
it," he says.
Playing a vital part in the team are consultants from Haringey’s appointed
IT suppliers, Logica and Pecaso. The latter is a leader in e-HR technologies
and a major supplier and integrator of SAP systems across Europe. Pecaso is
concerned with the HR and payroll applications of the project and is
implementing a pre-configured template for local government based on experience
gained from work for Lincolnshire County Council, the London Borough of
Southwark and Salford City Council.
Based around mySAP, the system is already tailored to the specific
requirements of local authorities with appropriate organisational structures,
local government pay scales and standard schemes for occupational sickness,
maternity leave and car mileage built in. It will be further tailored for
The pre-configured solution reduces the burden and risk of new technology to
the borough, especially in complex areas like payroll.
"It allows Haringey to focus the business processes side and change
management aspects," says Tim Bradley, responsible for the project at
"We are pleased to be a part of the Government’s e-business initiative.
There is no reason why the public sector should not be as leading edge as
private companies and Haringey looks set to be among the first to reap the
The system is due to go live at the end of the year. Finance and procurement
will go live first, followed by payroll. Members of Haringey’s workforce will
be able to access mySAP and will be able to use it for online procurement and
some self-service HR functions, such as booking holiday online and ultimately
inputting personal details and choosing training options.
Young is also keen to stress the performance management asp-ects of the
system with managers able to use the management reporting tools to enable them
to identify staff turnover and workflow in real time: "We are a
financially stable borough and have a performance agenda and this system will
sit behind this agenda and drive it all."