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The impact of change

A core strategic driver for the Partnership is the radical transformation of Council services as part of central government’s modernisation agenda, through re-engineered processes, updated systems and better skilled staff.


The Impact Partnership is an innovative joint venture partnership between Rochdale Metropolitan Borough Council (RMBC), Agilisys, and Mouchel.  A core strategic driver for the Partnership is the radical transformation of Council services as part of central government’s modernisation agenda, through re-engineered processes, updated systems and better skilled staff. 

Leading this transformation is the council’s HR department – People Management Service (PMS).  The remodelling of HR services in Rochdale began with a restructure in 2006 based on Ulrich’s HR Business Partnering model, shared and specialist services.  Stephen Harper, (HO PMS), said: “HR has to better understand and contribute to business performance through greater customer focus. The ability to support line managers with better business intelligence and electronic means of service delivery, will provide better value for money services and create the capacity to focus on value added work. The demands on HR in the public sector become ever greater and the only way to meet this extra demand is to change how we do things. A key platform for us to create this extra capacity has been the new HR and payroll system and the re-engineering processes of operational activities working jointly with the council’s strategic partner from the private sector.”

Working together with their ICT partner, Agilisys, the past year has seen the implementation of a single, integrated HR & Payroll system on MidlandHR’s Trent platform which replaced the old and inefficient mainframe systems. This was a major achievement in itself but only the first step towards PMS’s strategic vision of delivering operational benefits and, more importantly, providing the platform from which, over the coming 18 months, the PMS Transformation Programme will be rolled out to deliver real change and significant benefits to the council. In turn, this will enable them to provide and demonstrate real ‘value for money’ improvements.

The PMS Transformation Programme is made up of a number of inter-dependent projects which will impact and benefit every single service and employee within the council. These include:·      

  • Immediate upgrade to MidlandHR’s Trent v10.5 – this is the web-enabled version of MidlandHR’s market leading HR & Payroll software application which will facilitate real re-engineering of business processes     
  • e-Recruitment – reducing recruitment costs whilst, at the same time, widening the recruitment net to attract better skilled applicants to enable the council to provide an even better service to the community and its employees     
  • Manager and employee self service – empowering the end users, simplifying and enriching their interface with PMS services through direct input online, quicker end-to-end processes and access to accurate, up to date and pertinent information. 

A major challenge for this the transformation programme will be the training of the users from the core operational teams, who require an in-depth understanding of Trent and of data manipulation and analysis tools such as Excel and Business Objects. This is true too for end users with only an occasional or ad-hoc requirement to use Trent and who therefore, require the system to be intuitive and easy to use.

This training requirement will be a significant work stream in itself and will be project managed, resourced and delivery driven accordingly.The Impact Partnership payroll service, based on MidlandHR’s Trent software, has realised service improvements through the transition to real-time functionality, more comprehensive and accurate financial information, greater automation and the removal of duplicated effort. This has seen a 17% reduction in cost to the council, as a result of the implementation of Trent. The next steps include greater use of Trent’s workflow and more service improvements targeting preventative measures rather than issue resolution.

We began with a strategic vision for the HR service of how we believed we could support the council in achieving its strategic goals set out in its corporate plan ‘Aiming High’ and we are already on the path. The Impact Partnership was set up as a catalyst for change and together HR and the partnership are rising to this challenge.  We aren’t there yet and the road can be a bit rocky from time to time but change is a way of life; if we work together we will deliver real transformation to Rochdale, all the way from the residents of the borough through to the employees and their working process right down to the bottom line.


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