Public sector payroll and HR is being held back by legacy systems. Nearly half of the entire annual technology budget is spent on simply keeping out-of-date IT systems running. This is a drain on efficiency, quality of service, and employees.

A study undertaken by the Cabinet Office’s Modernisation and Reform Group indicated that some £2.3 billion of the UK government’s £4.7 billion tech budget goes on ‘keeping-the lights-on activities’ on ‘outdated legacy systems’.

Such activity has come at the price of improving departmental efficiency, modernising working processes, and enhancing the delivery of critical services. Such considerations are more crucial than ever at a time of ongoing budget cuts and a gloomy economic climate.

To make matters worse, this situation is replicated across the wider public sector. Overall technology expenditure has more than doubled to hit £17.3 billion over the last five years. The end-result is that maintaining legacy systems now amounts to the biggest single drain on public sector resources nationwide.

Another problem is that inadequate technology is holding back public authorities in innovation terms. For example, preliminary government reports indicate it would be possible to save more than £1 billion from cutting the costs associated with manual, paper-based services alone.

This money could then be reinvested into streamlining and updating significant numbers of complex and clunky legacy applications that are no longer fit-for-purpose. In addition, such systems tend to be poorly integrated, if at all. As a result, they are inflexible, find it difficult to communicate with each other and to share data. This, in turn, has a negative impact on decision-making.

What does a better public sector payroll solution look like?

Nowhere is the difficult situation more marked than in relation to public sector payroll and HR software. The challenge is that public authorities are expected to continue delivering high-quality services to both employees and customers with increasingly stretched resources.

However, to do so effectively, they simply must have a fit-for-purpose, cloud-based HR and payroll solution to support staff and keep operations running smoothly 24/7. Cloud applications are vital as they offer high levels of scalability, security, and resilience.

An optimised payroll and HR system should:
  • Automate manual processes in a frictionless workflow to boost productivity and operational efficiency. Doing so helps cut costs and frees up staff time to focus on value-add tasks.
  • Provide a consumer-grade user experience to help engage and retain talent.
  • Include built-in business intelligence and analytics tools to unlock real business value. Such tools enable you to analyse workforce trends and provide actionable insights based on your payroll and HR data. Doing so improves decision-making and speeds up reporting and regulatory compliance activities as well as improving accuracy.
  • Provide employees with self-service access to all their HR and payroll information via their mobile devices. This not only saves HR professionals time by reducing mundane queries but also makes staff feel more empowered.
  • Offer executives a graphical overview of HR, staffing, payment and other financial information from a single dashboard so they can understand workforce-related patterns and see trends at a glance
  • Work effectively with your existing technical infrastructure, however complex it is.. If systems are not compatible, support and integration costs can mount quickly.
  • Supply a marketplace of compatible applications and connectors to help you integrate disparate systems. Or to build your own customised, end-to-end HCM software suite.
  • Provide regular software updates to ensure the system remains compliant with changing regulations and that data held within it is secure.
  • Adhere to the highest security and privacy standards, including the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), to ensure your data remains safe.

Unlock the benefits of better technology and expert support

Zellis is an expert public sector payroll and HR provider. We’re careful to develop close partnerships with every customer.

We’re there to offer support wherever it is needed and take a structured approach to meeting all your requirements.

We do this by ensuring a process of continuous improvement and strict governance to deliver measurable value.

Find out more about our work with 200+ public sector organisations.