Council ‘insources’ outside help to build staff skills

The London Borough of Harrow is taking a novel approach to outsourcing by focusing on developing the skills of its existing staff by bringing outsourcing company employees into the council.

Under the proposed terms of a 10-year £100m business process transformation deal with Capita Group, managers at the supplier will be seconded full-time to the council, rather than the other way round.

Harrow’s chief executive Joyce Markham said: “We want to develop a ground-breaking partnership focused on the development of our own staff skills and expertise with help from the partner, rather than a large-scale outsourcing of staff.”

Although the council is not initially planning any redundancies, it said that with the details of the transformation still to be worked out it could not guarantee this.

Harrow is aiming to retrain and redeploy affected staff, and to manage any job losses through using fewer temporary workers and contractors. It is also considering mutually agreed early retirement for some of the 25% of its workforce reaching retirement age in the next four years.

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