Public sector payroll and HR solutions must pull their weight when it comes to helping organisations through challenging times.

The public sector is facing another difficult year. Ongoing budget cuts and a worsening economic climate come on top of an already challenging and complex environment.

To try and cope, public authorities have taken widespread action to improve efficiencies and cut costs. They have sold assets, introduced growing numbers of shared service agreements, implemented below-inflation pay rises, and made redundancies.  

But given this difficult scenario, here’s a key question: how can the public sector continue to deliver maximum quality with less money and fewer employees? 

How to find the best public sector payroll and HR systems for your needs 

One important tool to help solve this conundrum is having a fit-for-purpose payroll and HR system. But ensuring you have the software that best suits your requirements is not as simple as it sounds. It requires some groundwork.  

Here are some key considerations: 


Cost is always a significant factor for public sector organisations when making any purchase. But the danger is you may feel pressured to opt for a below-par add-on to an existing legacy finance system. Public sector needs best-of-breed payroll and HR solutions that can fulfil their complex needs properly. 

As a result, to obtain true long-term value for money, it makes sense to evaluate all your potential providers and their offerings against three key criteria: 

  • Quality
  • Price (total cost of ownership) 
  • Value (expected return on investment).  

Also, give suppliers the opportunity to explain the value of their products and services rather than focusing on cost alone. 

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Collaboration with IT

Budgets may have mostly been devolved to service managers these days, but it still makes sense for HR leaders to work with chief information officers (CIOs) when making a new purchase.  

The aim is to ensure your payroll and HR system is compatible with, and works effectively within, your existing technical infrastructure. Such infrastructure includes the preferred cloud platform, business intelligence, and application development tools. 

If your favoured system is not compatible, support costs can quickly escalate. You may also find your new software doesn’t interact effectively with other systems and could require integration work to rectify the problem. Therefore, in tender documents, it is always sensible to assign an appropriate weighting to the technology underpinning your desired system based on the organisation’s existing investments.  

Inertia and reluctance to change 

Sometimes there will be a reluctance to migrate to modern technology, such as cloud payroll software. After all, the organisation has already invested in on premise systems. There can also be fears over a loss of control. In this case, it’s important to come up with a clear business case to demonstrate positive benefits and value for money. Emphasise improved efficiency, operational benefits, and future-proofing. 

Benefits of a best-of-breed public sector payroll and HR system

There are many advantages of opting for best-of-breed payroll and HR systems developed by experts in the field: 

  • Advanced features that evolve as the market changes  
  • Expert knowledge 
  • Dedicated support 
  • Marketplace of compatible applications and connectors linking disparate systems together 
  • Boosted efficiency and reduced manual processes 
  • End-to-end reliability

High-level strategic workforce and payroll insights 

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Advanced payroll and HR systems give public sector executives a high-level overview of financial, HR, staffing, and payment data, displayed graphically in one place.  

Business analytics and intelligence tools provide insights. This enables, for example, budget monitoring from a staffing perspective, and understanding attrition rates in order to pinpoint any problem areas. 

Zellis is a leading public sector payroll partner

Zellis provides UK and Ireland public sector organisations with advanced digital payroll and HR solutions. Our powerful connectors link with third party applications to its system. We also provide service level agreements and guarantees on uptime for confidence and peace of mind.

Zellis is best-of-breed for HR and has an incredible payroll engine. These systems are great at what they do, but they also talk to each other beautifully, and to finance too.

Systems Administrator HR & Payroll, Bedford Borough Council 

Learn more about Zellis’ award-winning public sector payroll and HR software here