Inside Lambeth Council’s cost-cutting cloud migration

Aerial view north of Royal Circus roads in West Norwood, Lambeth, London SE27, UK.
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Lambeth is London’s largest inner-city borough and its council employs 3,000 staff who work to provide more than 800 kinds of public services to the more than 345,000 people who live in the area. 

Over the last decade, Lambeth London Borough Council has faced the same challenges most local authorities in the UK had faced: the need to provide a wide range of services while sustaining massive budget cuts.

To cut costs and unlock data silos, the council set out to simplify and standardize its disconnected systems, while incorporating smarter tools into workflows. 

Lambeth Council invested pretty heavily in Oracle’s cloud services to run its back-office infrastructure, adopting Oracle Cloud across finance, procurement, human resources (HR), recruiting, projects, and payroll. In addition to these, it uses Oracle Enterprise Planning and Management (PBCS). 

Having traditionally run its infrastructure on-premises, Lambeth Council hoped such a migration could improve decision-making, cut costs, and free up resources so staff can better focus on delivery.

Choosing cloud continuity

The move to Oracle Cloud was a natural one, given Lambeth Council’s long history with the company. “We have been an Oracle customer since 2000 and over the years have considered a range of options, including SAP, Workday and Microsoft Dynamics, before renewing licenses for Oracle,” explains Hamant Bharadia, strategic director of finance and investments.

But that, like many local authorities at the time, was within an on-premise setup. “The decision to move to the cloud was taken about six years ago; the council started implementing it during 2017 and went live with it in April.” 

In Conversation With
Strategic director of finance and investments at Lambeth Council, Hamant Bharadia
In Conversation With
Hamat Bharadia

Bharadia has been working in the London Borough of Lambeth for more than 33 years, adopting various positions in the field of finance. He also has extensive experience with Oracle applications, working as an end user and then manager of the service delivery team. 

The implementation was part of a wider cloud-first approach that Lambeth had adopted, primarily for economic reasons as Bharadia explains. “Emerging from the austerity measures imposed by the UK central government, we had to deliver cost savings. To achieve this, we reduced the size of our office accommodation as well as implementing a more flexible working environment, and increased software accessibility.”

But wasn’t the sole reason for Lambeth Council’s drive to the cloud. The other consideration in the move to the cloud was the ease of use of the standard software and workflow designs, without the need for any customizations. This reduces ongoing maintenance costs as well as the costs and timescales for future upgrades and enhancements, says Bharadia.

Both cloud-first and flexibility-first


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What the switch to Oracle Cloud has given Lambeth Council is a good deal more flexibility in the way it works. This has enabled the organization to reduce its office space from 14 buildings to just two.

“The ability for employees to access Oracle’s cloud applications from any location has made it much easier for them to work from home,” says Bharadia. “Flexible working is also helping us to serve the community’s needs more effectively. During the pandemic, a combination of remote and mobile working enabled us to deliver lockdown support to residents more easily, for example, helping us to run vaccination centers and food hubs.”

A move of this magnitude can often cause issues, but the authority has found it’s had little impact on the way Lambeth operates and, as Bharadia points out, it’s improved many functions.

“The move has been well received,” he says. “Firstly, the technology is easier for staff to use, thanks to the increased process automation – including annual leave booking, objective setting, performance reviews, and online payslips. Managers can also easily review and update their monthly budget monitoring and forecasting, including roll-ups and dashboard.

“The council has been able to provide access to external suppliers for self-service,” he adds. 

“In its HR function, with more self-service capabilities, we have seen a 55% improvement in appraisal and performance reporting, allowing the HR team to allocate fewer resources to share a greater workload.” 

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Max Cooter

Max Cooter is a freelance journalist who has been writing about the tech sector for almost forty years.

At ITPro, Max’s work has primarily focused on cloud computing, storage, and migration. He has also contributed software reviews and interviews with CIOs from a range of companies.

He edited IDG’s Techworld for several years and was the founder-editor of CloudPro, which launched in 2011 to become the UK’s leading publication focused entirely on cloud computing news.

Max attained a BA in philosophy and mathematics at the University of Bradford, combining humanities with a firm understanding of the STEM world in a manner that has served him well throughout his career.