Sutton and Merton councils merge HR teams into shared service

HR jobs at Sutton and Merton councils could be under threat as the London boroughs join forces to share their HR function.

The move to merge services is designed to save up to £500,000 a year and will see Sutton become the host provider. The Sutton department will be responsible for delivering HR services to both boroughs, with Merton paying for the arrangement.

Under the plans, 54 staff will transfer across to Sutton council from Merton on 1 October. However, a council spokesman could not confirm the safety of jobs. “We will then look at a restructure,” he told Personnel Today.

Dean Shoesmith, who was appointed joint head of HR for both boroughs a year ago in the run-up to the merger, will oversee the strategic direction of HR services, as well as staff in both boroughs.

He said: “The £500,000 savings are to be achieved through reviews of structures and creating more efficiency as a result – in particular through some shared managerial posts. Beyond this we will be seeking other efficiencies such as economy of scale through joint procurement.”

The concept is being adopted by councils across England, but the arrangement is the first of its kind in the capital.

Merton council deputy leader Samantha George added: “By bringing the two teams together we can create a more efficient way of working for both boroughs and transform the way HR functions work for the long term.”

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