Kent County Council is in the process of consolidating and updating its IT infrastructure and business operations to save a projected £10.9m over the next five years.
The council has replaced legacy general ledger, financial and human resources software systems with Oracle equivalents bundled within its Oracle E-Business Suite 11i.
It has now implemented Oracle Financials 11i and Human Resources Management System to eliminate the need for separate data entry for each legacy system.
The council is also saving an annual £1.2m through staff reductions and by streamlining its working practices with contractors.
"The main reason [for this project] was to do away with obsolete IT systems. We had had a separate entry system for payroll, human resources and general ledger," explained Kent County Council chief executive Mike Pitt.
The council now uses its new system to centralise departmental budgets, improve real-time tracking of purchasing transactions and financial performance, provide self-service human resources facilities for line managers and improve security and audit procedures.
"We wanted a unified system with only one version of the truth for our financial and administrative processes, to streamline the business operations of the council and make substantial savings," said Pitt.
He added that the council was two-thirds of the way through its headcount cuts and is looking to complete the operational streamlining and IT upgrade "within the next 12 months".
This technical upgrade is part of the council's policy to redeploy back-office staff to provide better customer service levels for the public.
"We are also investing heavily in our contact centre as we move all our services across to web technology, for making payments electronically, for example," said Pitt.
Pitt claimed that the government's 2005 deadline for electronically enabling key local government was "incidental" to the upgrades.
"We are a council that has decided to put up-front money into technology as a major commitment. We are convinced that we have done the right thing all along," he said.
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