Health service HR system hit by cost and feasibility

first_imgRelated posts:No related photos. The Department of Health is forging ahead with a service-wide HR and payrollcomputer system despite growing doubts about the project’s feasibility andcost.The Shared Services initiative will create the biggest HR and payroll systemin Europe. It is being driven by Number 10 in response to growing frustrationat the lack of central information on NHS employees. Full specification for thesystem will go out to short-listed companies later this month.But insiders contacted by Personnel Today fear that the DoH is grosslyunderestimating the cost and practicalities of implementing such a huge system.Although the DoH says no budget has been allocated, initial estimates thatthe system could be developed and implemented for £70m are being dismissed asoptimistic. Two sources close to the process independently estimated the costto be between £160m and £200m. This is equivalent to employing 12,500 extranursing staff a year.There is also criticism of the “top-down” way the department hasapproached the implementation of the system. Given the costs involved, insiderssay the DoH will find it difficult to win over local health trusts andauthorities which currently use a wide variety of systems.And the poor track record of government departments in implementing major ITprojects is not inspiring confidence. Implementation problems hit the InlandRevenue and the Department of Social Security in the past.A source said, “The Government had enough problems in the past puttingin systems for 50,000 employees, let alone 1 million.”HR directors in health trusts and authorities were made aware of the plansto press ahead with a single system in January. But insiders say there could still be resistance. “The whole thing is the wrong way round. It is not the departmentasking health trusts what they want. It is the department saying what itwants,” one said. “Individual trusts may not want the system and there is no remit forthe Department to say to them, ‘You will have this solution.’”The consequences of getting something like this wrong are politicaldynamite.”The DoH said it has not stipulated any budget in its initial tender and willnot put a figure in its final specification. Instead short-listed providers will be expected to recommend their ownbudgets for the project.A department spokeswoman described the £70m figure as “way offbeam”.There is also consensus that current systems do need to be overhauled. TheSPS payroll system used by many authorities is 25 years old and the DoH says itis becoming increasingly difficult to update. www.doh.gov.uk/sharedservices By Helen Rowe Previous Article Next Articlecenter_img Comments are closed. Health service HR system hit by cost and feasibilityOn 4 Apr 2000 in Personnel Todaylast_img

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