Doncaster cites financial management system savings

Doncaster Council says it has already saved £400,000 after implementing a new financial management and procurement system in September 2013.

The council is understood to have spent more than £1m on the Advanced Business Solutions technology, which includes a finance management and procurement solutions, plus budgeting and forecasting software.

The council says it expects to save £2m using the new system by 2016/17 through increased visibility and control over finances and improved process efficiencies.

Simon Wiles, director of finance at the council, said: “The council recognises the need to invest in technologies to release new savings.

“We are now able to track orders and ensure the appropriate contracts, often with lower pre-agreed prices, are being used, which has allowed us to make significant savings already.

“Our processes are now much more streamlined and automated and we anticipate generating a further £1.2m in operational efficiencies.

“The remainder of our savings will come from empowering budget managers to take responsibility for their forecasting and monitoring and freeing up the financial management team to work more strategically.”

The council has also decommissioned several legacy systems, including a 20-year-old mainframe, leading to reduced licensing and support costs, it said.

Prior to implementing the solutions, the council relied on a heavily paper- and Excel-based system with manual data entry.

The council said that more than 1,000 staff are using the system which has recently been adopted by Doncaster’s Children’s Services Trust.

Both the council and the trust’s solutions are hosted by Advanced 365, a partner division of Advanced Business Solutions.

Later this year the council plans to implement a self-service portal, and in 2016 it is planning to implement further modules, including inventory management, jobs billing and project tracking. 

The savings are aimed at contributing to the council’s strategic plan to slash £109m from its budget by 2016/17.

Colin Marrs

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