“Invest to save should be Thurrock Council’s mantra,” says Leader, Cllr John Kent.
He was speaking at Wednesday (6 July) evening’s meeting of the cabinet, discussing changes to the council’s back-office systems.
“There has been no, or very little investment in how the council’s human resources, payroll, finance and procurement systems work over recent years,” said Cllr Kent.
“When our new chief executive arrived here last year he said it was like ‘stepping back in time five or ten years’.
“That’s got to change. Old, even decrepit systems that don’t talk with each other; systems that are very manpower intensive, even paper systems for recording holiday dates — it’s costing us thousands.”
But he added: “If we’re to change this and make savings, then we’ve got to invest first. We’ve got to buy a single, modern and future-proof support system and when we get that right, we may even be able to sell our services to other organisations.”
He said: “This is a really good example of the council and its partner — Vertex — working together, something that until recently didn’t happen often enough.
“Yes we will have to spend some money, but the results should be well worth it. I am looking forward to reading the full business case in the next few weeks and seeing its installation in the next few months.
“It looks like the start-up costs will be in the region of £2¼ million, around £1.8 million coming from the council, but in the next financial year we’ll save £½ million and another £½ million the year after and so on.
“And the savings won’t only be financial. It will help create a slicker, quicker back office and that means slicker and quicker answers for staff and slicker and quicker answers for members and residents.
“Invest to save should be Thurrock Council’s mantra from here on in,”