Q & A with Ben Plant
Sourcing HR services and resourcing just got easier
The London Borough of Waltham Forest and YPO have joined forces to offer a new framework for procuring HR services and resourcing. Waltham Forest’s director of transformation and human resources Ben Plant tells us more…
What is the LGRP?
LGRP stands for Local Government Resourcing Partnership, a new framework that any local authority can use to access and procure a wide range of HR services. It’s the result of an innovative partnership between the London Borough of Waltham Forest and YPO, the UK’s largest public sector buying organisation which is owned by another 13 local authorities. We think the LGRP is the first national framework created through collaboration between a council and a public buying organisation – although someone out there may be able to prove us wrong! And importantly, the framework went live on October 6th.
Who can access LGRP?
Any local authority in the UK and beyond that, any part of the public sector, including police, fire and rescue, the NHS, charities and housing associations. A full list can be accessed at www.ypo.co.uk/ojeu-permissible-users
What’s the background?
The LGRP has been around for some time in one form or another. Originally, it was a partnership of eight London boroughs who wanted to maximise their buying power when it came to procuring recruitment services. Then, every time the framework needed to be renewed, its membership grew. Earlier this year, it was time to procure the framework again, and that’s when Waltham Forest and YPO got involved. Our organisations have worked together before and this seemed like a great opportunity to collaborate again. We spoke to users of the LGRP, who told us the framework was still needed – so we decided to build on the work of previous boroughs that have supported the LGRP and create what we hope is the best version yet.
For those organisations that have used the LGRP before, what’s changed?
Plenty! Before we started the process of procuring the new framework, we consulted with users about what they needed and we spoke with suppliers about what they could offer. That led to some big changes. Historically, the LGRP has had a strong focus on recruitment, and while that’s still a very important part of the framework, we’ve expanded the scope to include a wider range of HR services, including HR consultancy and HR marketing. And we’ve opened up the framework to a much wider audience – it’s now available to the whole of the UK public sector.
We’ve also worked hard to make sure the process of using the LGRP is simple, straightforward, and easily tailored to meet each council’s needs. Procurement frameworks don’t always offer a great user experience and we wanted to change that for the LGRP. The framework has a national supplier base of nearly 30 providers and there’s no access fee for users – just a small rebate system to help us cover our costs.
Why is using the LGRP beneficial?
This is a framework designed by local government for local government, so I hope people will find it’s in tune with what they need. And since the LGRP is based on councils’ collective buying power, we think it offers a better option than individual local authorities testing the market on their own. Value for money was at the forefront of our minds throughout the procurement process and we rigorously evaluated all of the responses we received.
What are the challenges facing HR in the public sector?
Many! The task facing public servants is to build the next generation of public services, and HR has a huge role to play in making that happen. In Waltham Forest, we’re focused on trying to answer some big questions. Who are our future leaders – where will we find them and how can we support them? What are the new skills our people need? Or what will it mean to bring more robots into the workforce – how are we going to handle that? These are big questions for HR departments all across the country. And then there’s Brexit, with all the likely impact on employment law, recruitment, and everything else. I can’t guarantee the LGRP will offer all of the answers, but for councils looking to use external HR support to assist with some of these challenges, I hope it will help.
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