BBC HR outsourcing deal still experiencing problems

BBC people director Stephen Kelly has admitted that the corporation’s flagship £100m HR outsourcing deal is still experiencing problems.

The BBC signed the 10-year deal with provider Capita in February 2006 in a bid to save £50m and streamline HR services such as recruitment and pay administration. But there have been ongoing reports about poor service, and union complaints that the deal is not working for staff.

Speaking exclusively to Personnel Today, Kelly admitted the deal was not running smoothly, but insisted he was determined to make it work.

“Any outsourcing contract has its challenges,” he said. “But both the BBC and Capita are absolutely committed to addressing these and we have a big programme in place to change and simplify our processes, taking out duplication and overlap.”

Kelly – who joined the BBC almost two years ago from communications giant BT – said he was “reasonably confident” that the corporation would begin to see real benefits in the next 12 months. He was spending up to 25% of his time on making the contract work, he added

Helen Ryan, a supervisory official in the BBC division of broadcasting union Bectu, said the deal was plagued by recurring problems. “Both staff and the union preferred it when HR was done in-house as you could build relationships with the HR team,” she said.

The Capita deal was signed by Kelly’s predecessor Stephen Dando, who left the corporation shortly afterwards. But Kelly insisted the decision to outsource was right.

“I’ve said publicly that while the deal has had its teething problems, I don’t believe we should bring it back in-house. We can make it work and are committed to making it work,” he added.

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