22 September 2005 | Rebecca Ellinor
The BBC has "longlisted" eight suppliers for an outsourcing contract to provide its HR services from next year.
Accenture, Capita, Convergys, Excellerate HRO, Hewitt, IBM, Northgate and Xchanging have all gone through to the second phase of the tendering process, which is being carried out jointly by HR and procurement staff at the corporation.
The decision to outsource much of the function follows an internal review, Value for Money, announced by director-general Mark Thompson in December.
The corporation hopes to save around £355 million a year by 2008, an estimated £93 million of which is to be made through more efficient procurement and £68 million from redundancies and increased outsourcing of jobs.
These savings will be ploughed back into the BBC's TV and radio programmes.
Vanessa Robinson, organisation and resourcing adviser at the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, told SM: "A lot of organisations are increasingly looking at outsourcing HR, but some are [keeping the function in-house] and making the efficiencies themselves."
Martyn Hart, chairman of the National Outsourcing Association, agrees: "It looks like the outsourcing of HR is growing and growing."
The BBC's 900-strong HR department is to be reduced to 450 as part of the changes, with 260 posts outsourced, and 180 redundancies. The remaining jobs are to be transferred elsewhere.
The corporation said it is looking for a supplier or suppliers to undertake recruitment, remuneration, development, re-location, HR administration, occupational health and disability access services.
Final negotiations are expected to take place at the end of this year, with the contract likely to start in the spring.
Meanwhile, Gloucestershire County Council has appointed Comensura to manage all its temporary and contract staffing arrangements in a £2-million-a-year deal.
Allan Wathan, corporate procurement manager for the council, said he hopes the deal will result in a "significant reduction" in annual costs.