Council markets its HR expertise

The HR department of a local education authority is selling its expertise to
a neighbouring authority to try to boost its income and expand the department.

Surrey County Council’s education personnel department has struck a deal
with Wokingham Council, which will see Wokingham encouraging its schools to buy
HR advice from Surrey.

Surrey has supplied personnel services to schools since budgets for hiring
staff and responsibility for HR issues were devolved from the local authority
to school governing bodies in 1988.

It handles personnel for most of its 400 schools and in the past five years
has won contracts with grant-maintained and independent schools outside its
boundaries. It currently supplies 16 independents in eight authorities.

The department of 30 has grown by two in the past two years due to increased
business.

The deal with Wokingham will give it access to 63 more schools and see it
take on non-independent schools from another education authority for the first
time, said Paul Osborn, development manager at Surrey’s education personnel
department.

Wokingham council is writing to all its schools to recommend Surrey’s
personnel department as a supplier.

"We can offer economies of scale that as a smaller unitary authority
Wokingham can not achieve," Osborn said. "This is a new departure for
us and we are waiting to see what the outcome is, but if it is successful we
would like to replicate it. "

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