Norfolk County Council simplifies payroll and lifts staff engagement

Local authority based in Norwich, United Kingdom reduces paperwork, minimizes repetitive tasks, and increases data transparency with Oracle Payroll.


Oracle Payroll has been able to deliver exactly what we needed. We’ve saved 50 percent of our staff's time by replacing manual with automated payroll processes.

Sam RuarkContracts and Project Manager, HR and Payroll and Direct Payment Support Services, Norfolk County Council

Business challenges

The council provides an extensive range of public services to its 860,000 citizens. The organization is responsible for road network administration, coordination of fire and library services, and management of primary and secondary education in Norfolk County.

As part of the health and social care programs for vulnerable individuals, Norfolk County Council also supports people with disabilities with direct payments and employment services to help them benefit from home care and personal assistants. The council has a  Direct Payment Support Services Payroll (DPSS Payroll), which provides employment support and payroll services to the qualifying members of the Norfolk community. It facilitates the interaction between 1,300 service users with disabilities and 2,500 personal assistants, allowing each personal assistant to get paid based on the hours spent working with disabled people.

The payroll system, handled externally by a service provider, was heavily dependent on time-consuming manual processes and paperwork that involved submitting a piece of paper every week for each personal assistant to run payroll. Norfolk wanted to bring payroll under its umbrella to have more control over the payment data and paperwork taking place between the personal assistants and the people they served.

Norfolk’s goal was also to automate the process as much as possible, so that the county’s small payroll team could operate 1,300 payrolls every month. The aim was to reduce manual work, make payroll jobs easier, and free up resources.

At the same time, the Council wanted to ensure a more modern and unified IT landscape for its HR and payroll systems instead of dealing with a fragmented one that came with complex integrations, making analytics difficult and costly.

Why Norfolk County Council chose Oracle

As a long-time Oracle customer running Oracle E-Business Suite on-premises for finance and human resources, Norfolk County Council acknowledged that it was time to embrace the digital revolution.

“Building our payroll system around Oracle Payroll was an intuitive move for us that ticked a lot of boxes. Oracle was able to deliver exactly what we needed. And it also worked in favor for the wider organization to be able to see the change that Oracle brought within the business, leading us down a similar path for the whole organization,” says Sam Ruark, contracts and project manager for Norfolk County Council.


By deploying Oracle Payroll, part of the Oracle Fusion Cloud HCM suite of applications, the council achieved substantially more agile payment processes. Oracle Payroll reduced manual repetitive tasks and process complexity, eliminated paper timesheets, and minimized staff involvement. Benefiting from full overview and control of the payment data being collected and processed, the Norfolk council can now spend more time with service users.

With Oracle Payroll, Norfolk enjoys more flexible, scalable, and accurate processes as well, embracing the digital technology trend. By linking Oracle APEX to Oracle Fusion Cloud HCM, the organization benefits from a single source of truth and the real-time collection of personal assistants’ payroll data.

The level of unification enabled by Oracle Payroll made it possible for Norfolk to align its payroll strategy with the United Kingdom’s government reporting requirements, reduce the number of data entry errors, and allow for full transparency. Oracle Integration helps Norfolk quickly connect any SaaS, custom, and on-premises applications for end-to-end process automation.

Previously, the council was running the payroll on a weekly basis, with staff members working daily on providing the required manual input. Now the organization needs only one person to run a once-per-month payroll process, which takes less than a week of a single employee’s input, significantly reducing processing times and increasing confidence in the payroll data. “Oracle Payroll is a phenomenal system that offers a completely paperless workflow. And that's our biggest goal for the next year, to move away from any paper-based timesheets and pay slips. Currently, we already process more than 75% digitally,” says Ruark.

After moving to Oracle Payroll, NCC saved 14 staff days per month by adding a Robotic Process Automation (RPA) functionality to run the submission process and further streamline the payroll process. “We have maybe 300 records every month, and that was one person's job for two weeks every month to manually fill these in and send them out. We've created an API around Oracle Payroll, including a mobile app, and now the same process is done within hours. This is not only about money and resources. It is also about saving employees from monotonous work, helping them enjoy their jobs, and freeing them up for more value-added tasks,” Ruark says.


Evosys, a global Oracle Implementation Partner, helped Norfolk County Council tailor DPSS Payroll to specific characteristics the council required.

Published:November 24, 2021