Gov Facility Services secures finance control in His Majesty’s Prisons with Oracle and IBM

Gov Facility Services

From collapse to new company action

His Majesty’s Prison Service implements the sentences given out by the Court Service, in custody, the community, and rehabilitation, and currently operates through 123 prisons within the UK.

When Carillion Plc, the private company running facilities management services within 49 prisons, collapsed with very little warning, the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) created a new operating company, Gov Facility Services Ltd (GFSL). Employing around 1,200 people, with a budget of around £100m annually, GFSL needed to secure procurement, payroll and financial control quickly to get operations in order.

Limited infrastructure, a new workforce, and a ticking clock

A key concern for GFSL was establishing a suitable operating platform to underpin core service requirements. With limited infrastructure, a new workforce, and pressure to quickly redress a substantial backlog, GFSL needed a robust solution within a tight deadline.

Paul Ryder, chief executive at GFSL, said: “We were relying on the Ministry of Justice and a third-party bureaux to pay our people and supply partners. The Official Receiver, which managed the closure of Carillion, was able to offer us six months support before we had to stand on our own feet.”

Securing services with Oracle Cloud and IBM

Transferring GSFL’s operations to the Ministry’s existing platforms was too costly and slow. Outsourcing payroll, procurement and finance to third-party providers also proved impossible with no validated estimates after the sudden business failure. Deploying GFSL’s own solutions looked more positive, but the six-month timeline seemed insurmountable.

IBM offered GFSL assurance around time to deliver, fully understanding GFSL’s requirements.

Oracle Cloud was then chosen for the cloud solution’s flexibility and the ability to launch new systems at short notice as well as its scalability. The solution could be hosted within the Government Oracle Cloud, and with the MoJ and Carillion having used Oracle, users out on sites had familiarity.

Oracle and IBM lock-in three-month success

Working with IBM Services, GFSL went live with Oracle global HR, finance, and procurement cloud solutions in under three months, just nine weeks after Oracle had deployed the environments. GFSL also launched Oracle Cloud Payroll within six months.

IBM provided additional staff to help with the transition workload and delivered onsite and remote training for over 220 front-line employees.

From a standing start, GFSL could run its own payroll, procurement and financial systems. Now, Oracle Cloud handles around 700,000 transactions a year for planned maintenance, repairs and service work.

Stephanie Hill, finance director at GFSL, said: “With Oracle Procurement Cloud, we have the ability to pay suppliers with proper governance using an automated three-way match, confirming valid purchase orders, goods delivery and accurate invoicing.”

“The advantage of the Oracle Cloud is that with help from IBM Services we can extend and develop these capabilities, introducing financial monitoring and advanced reporting without impacting the time-critical delivery of the core solutions.”