The Executive Director of Finance and Corporate Resources presented a report which updated Members on the progress that had been achieved with the procurement of the new finance system. The procurement exercise had been completed and the new system, once delivered would apply to HR, Financial Services, Payments, including cash receipting and Payroll. The systems would be fully integrated, though the full system would take up to 24 months to implement as Officers would review service delivery as part of the system’s introduction in line with transformation principles. Unfortunately, the procurement exercise had revealed that the financial costs would be higher than had been anticipated and the Council would ask to provide additional financial investment in order to progress with the system. Savings arising from the introduction of the new system had not yet been built into the Medium Term Financial Plan, though it was anticipated that efficiencies may be achieved in the long-term.
A briefing had been provided to all Members in respect of the system on 19th March. The Budget Scrutiny Working Group had also scrutinised the proposals for the new system in detail and had made a helpful contribution to the work of officers on the project.
Members subsequently discussed the report and noted the following points:
· The new system would provide an opportunity for the Council to undertake digital transformation and change the ways in which the authority worked.
· The financial costs quoted in the report represented the maximum possible spend on the new system. There was the possibility that the Council would spend less than this if fewer implementation days were used during the roll out of the new system.
· The system was being procured jointly for Redditch Borough and Bromsgrove District Councils and Members questioned what stage had been reached in the decision making process in Bromsgrove. Members were advised that the report was due to be considered at a meeting of Bromsgrove’s Cabinet on 27th March and at a full Council meeting in the district that same evening.
· The reasons why the Council had underestimated the financial costs of the new system. Members were advised that the original report had estimated costs based on soft market testing. However, the end specification and the outcomes of the procurement process had led to an increase in the costs.
· The benefits of the new system for the Council. Officers explained that the new system would provide managers with easier and immediate access to budget information for their departments which would help with financial management. At present officers were working with old fashioned spreadsheets and this caused delays.
· The potential to integrate the system with the new housing ICT system. The Committee was informed that Officers from the ICT department were working to ensure that the two systems were integrated.
· The potential to remove residents from the system once they had passed away to ensure that the Council’s billing service was sensitive to the needs of family members. The Committee was informed that, subject to complying with GDPR requirements, it would be possible to remove the details of deceased residents.
· The need for the Council to work in a digital manner, in line with developments within society whereby people were working in a more integrated fashion. Members welcomed the fact that the Council had signed up to the Local Digital Declaration in 2018.
the completion of the procurement exercise for the new Council enterprise system be noted and that if the project is to be progressed additional funding is required
additional capital receipts to the value of £208k are approved to fund the system in 2019/20 and that the Capital Programme is updated to reflect this expenditure.