Innovation Exchange

Business Support Programme


Key activities

Benefits and impacts


Further Information

Managed as a Programme of work in accordance with MSP and Prince2, the Programme has designed and delivered the creation of a single Business Support Organisation to provide consistent and responsive admin support across Services for current operations and through periods of change. Includes the redesign of processes such as HR and Payroll related .

Themes: Service Transformation and Digital

the highland council logo

Single Business Support Organisation created from Service specific admin teams, avoiding duplication (reduced numbers of staff), consistency in how work is carried out (standard processes) and increased resilience in covering workload. Specifically, Business Support deliver the following functions:


  • Human Resources (HR) Administration - Managing recruitment, contracts, attendance and employee records.

  • Purchasing and Financial Transactions - Ordering and payment, purchase card administration, raising debtor invoices and recharges.

  • Travel Desk - Arranging all business travel (rail, air, bus, ferry and car hire) and accommodation for Council staff and elected Members.


  • Electronic Processing - Scanning, indexing and handling a range of documents from applications to correspondence.


  • Educational Maintenance Allowance - Assessing and determining claims and resolving any resulting enquiries.


  • Management Support - Diary and meetings management, document and presentation support.


  • Information Management - Record creation, retrieval, storage and disposal, website management.


  • Facilities Management - Office management, meeting rooms management and maintenance.


  • Finance Systems Administration - System administration responsibilities for all Finance Service systems.


  • Training & Development - Capturing and managing training needs, arranging relevant courses and also delivering in-house council tax and benefit courses.


  • Civic Duties - Helping to provide civic support including assisting in the organisation of major events.

The Benefits Log records benefits from the Project, with main benefits as follows:


  • Cashable Savings Target = £2.3m


  • Business Support organisational and process change= £2.355m delivered


  • Avoiding duplication (reduced numbers of staff)


  • Consistency in how work is carried out (standard processes)


  • Increased resilience in covering workload


  • Stopping advertising vacancies in press and other media, with all posts being advertised through myjobscotland  = £0.154m delivered


  • Payroll Savings (staff, postage, printing costs) = £27k saving from printing; Work is continuing to quantify all cashable savings and benefits from avoidance of double keying and checking of data


  • HR/Payroll Self-Serve phased across Services, reducing effort from duplicated data input and improving access to information for staff and managers (on-line payslips, absence information and expenses) – 97% of all staff access the self-serve system
  • Where reliant on ICT technical solutions, don’t underestimate the development time and issues that can arise – ensure ICT provider(s) can respond timeously.


  • Breakdown the Programme into manageable tranches and avoid too many dependencies on the “critical path”.


  • For Process Redesign, ensure greater emphasis on thinking ahead to making change in the business (i.e. see from user will new ways of working work in practice).


  • Account for work and effort required to turnaround existing poor and inconsistent practices and processes that have been in place for “years” - these may only be identified when redesign and testing automation and standardisation of previously uncontrolled processes

As part of the Business Support Programme, the move to HR/Payroll Self-Serve, is part of the broader strategy of Highland Council becoming a digital Council, exploiting technologies to reduce costs and improve service delivery.

Contact details:

To find out more about this case study, please contact:


Matt Bailey

Project Manager

The Highland Council

01463 702906

Case study added to site: June 2016

Please report any errors using this web form

Improvement Service, working in partnership with

solace scotland logo