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A new report* from Socitm Insight shows how councils can use technology to achieve transformational change and reap...
A new report* from Socitm Insight shows how councils can use technology to achieve transformational change and reap the sort of efficiency gains anticipated in the efficiency review.

'E is for efficiency: reaping the benefits of technology' draws out the lessons from three different councils each of which began transformational change programmes before the efficiency review became a major plank of government policy.

The councils featured in the report are:

Bracknell Forest BC which is using a web-based portal to support flexible working initiatives for its staff, enabling the council to maximise its utilisation of property assets and increase staff productive time.

East Riding of Yorkshire Council which has provided access for customers via an authenticated login, to personalised, location-based information, the authority's CRM system, and facilities to make payments and track identifiable service requests. The project is helping resolve issues of rural isolation.

West Lothian Council which has developed new models of care for older people, based on the use of assistive technology, leading to efficiency gains not just in the local authority but also in the NHS.

According to Mary Wintershausen, who prepared E is for Efficiency for Socitm Insight these case studies show that local authorities do not need to set up new programmes to meet efficiency targets.

'Changes focused on meeting the needs of customers and local communities will, as a by-product, lead to efficiency gains in service delivery,' she says. 'However the efficiency review can and should be used as a mechanism to prioritise work and select those projects which will lead to transformation in local services'.

The report also says that if properly focused, investment in e-government programmes will support business transformation in local public services. The efficiency review brings with it many opportunities for local authorities to make better and more effective use of technology by:

  • encouraging the public to use self-service options (eg website transactions)

  • streamlining corporate and support services by using business process re-design

  • supporting new ways of working (eg mobile and home working, hot-desking)

  • committing to e-procurement practices.

    * The report is available hereand an executive briefing here.

    E is for Efficiency comes in the form of a report of 56 pages. There is a separate 4 page executive briefing written for elected members, chief executives and senior managers. The report costs£150 and is free of charge to Socitm Insight subscribers. Others can order copies from the Socitm website.

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