I recently met with colleagues from Bradford Council to discuss how they had been involved in Insourcing the City’s Education Services from Serco. 1,300 staff were transferred back to the authority in July this year from a £53m per annum contract.
Despite having written about hundreds of examples of insourcing services, in APSE's research in this area, the sheer scale of this project was so impressive and to deliver it from the Council taking an initial decision in December 2009 to being fully up and running back inhouse by 29 July 2011 was fairly incredible. Both project managers who delivered this only commenced work in late March 2010, with further secondments being added in early 2011, therefore you are really only talking about 16 months in total for a handful of people to deliver such a colossal change.
They told me about some of the key stages in the insourcing process, engaging with clients and stakeholders; negotiating with the existing contractor; communicating with staff affected who were still with the existing contractor; discussions and consultations with trade unions; putting in place IT infrastructure and back office arrangements around payroll etc; finally doing staff welcome meetings for the 1,300 staff and addressing any teething problems.
The key lesson for me is that no matter how logistically difficult something may appear if you have good quality staff in place nothing is impossible.