Barnsley’s digital media centre opened in 2007, offering businesses lettable space and meetings and events facilities. Barnsley MBC outsourced its management but by 2015, with the occupancy level at just 53%, the council brought management back in-house. Barnsley established a cross-directorate team to deliver facilities and asset management, finance and project direction. Following stakeholder consultation, the council produced a new business model for the centre that increased occupancy and prices and improved the services provided. By July 2016, the centre’s occupancy rate had reached 83%.
Croydon’s Independent Travel Programme has transformed the way the council provides travel support. The project integrated adults’ and children’s travel services, establishing a unified budget to manage costs; shifted toward services that allowed people to travel independently; developed alternative travel options such as car leasing, travel buddies and personal travel budgets; and managed costs with a focus on the most expensive services, options optimisation and regular cost analysis and projections.
East Staffordshire BC
In less than a decade, East Staffordshire BC’s ICT team has decreased in size by more than 70%. The team still provides a complete support package that would be provided by considerably larger teams at other councils. There is a champion for each IT system, which means it provides expertise without expensive consultants. Through multi-disciplinary and flexible working arrangements, the team manages key corporate projects, providing the council with specialist expertise and advice/guidance from revenues and benefits through to planning.
Gateshead City Council
Gateshead’s Supporting Independence Service was formed by merging the council’s free-to-access Older People’s Support Service and the customer-paid Home Support Service to create one, customer-paid service. After consultation about charging, almost all OPSS service users took up the new, more comprehensive service. It helps the elderly with everything from cleaning and laundry to running errands, accompanying them to appointments or keeping them company. Customers receive the service as often as needed. It helps them to live independently.
Me and My Learning brings together partner organisations involved in supporting people to live independently and move into employment where appropriate. Previously the barriers to independent living were addressed in an unco-ordinated way. The new approach allows service providers to complement each other. Service users’ needs are assessed before they agree their own journey, with support to becoming digitally, financially and socially independent. In its first two years of operation, the programme successfully engaged with 967 people and supported 109 into work.
Merton, Sutton and Richmond upon Thames LBCs and Kingston upon Thames RBC – South London Legal Partnership
Council lawyers spent thousands of pounds on printing paper bundles and faced tight deadlines due to the need to courier them to court. A digital solution seemed simple but it was a systemic challenge that required collective action, a developed IT solution, a party willing to lead and a sustainable business case. The South London Legal Partnership has overcome this challenge, bringing together Merton, Richmond upon Thames and Sutton LBCs and Kingston upon Thames RBC, two IT suppliers and a number of London family courts.
Nottingham City Council
Nottingham City Council achieved innovative, sustainable transformation despite pressures of £179m budget cuts, rising demand and increasing responsibilities. Its transformation included investing in ‘change champions’ to drive change in their teams; creating a ‘Being Great Fund’ to support staff to deliver changes to services; and improving safeguarding of vulnerable children by helping frontline workers to escalate concerns across different departments. Through these and other initiatives, the council achieved improved citizen outcomes, protected frontline services, kept job losses low and made Nottingham a thriving city.
South Hams DC and West Devon BC
South Hams DC and West Devon BC’s business change programme involved completely redesigning their services around their customers. The councils reduced staff by 30%, restructured senior management teams and developed a new flexible workforce. This meant categorising all work into administrative and specialist tasks. The councils demonstrated that 80% of their work was best carried out by administrators, leaving specialists to provide professional expertise. The councils developed a fully integrated software solution to support this new model.
Swale BC has fully embraced transformational change and it is doing this with its residents and service users centre stage. During 2015-16, it undertook two fundamental reviews of customer-facing services in order to achieve system-wide improvement for users of its housing benefits and housing options services. Its customers have been integral to these reviews and Swale continues to seek their feedback and input to make its processes even more efficient. Following the success of these reviews, Swale has created an in-house transformation team to work with services to review all that it does.
Wolverhampton City Council
Between 2010 and 2015, Wolverhampton City Council lost 1,200 staff and had its budget reduced by £134m. Its response to these challenges was to be more ambitious and innovative than ever before. Improvements included: creating a flexible workforce; making best use of resources; maximising assets; using technology to improve the way staff work; ensuring the council was customer-focused; creating a strong culture of compliance; and embedding evidence-based decision-making to drive improvement. Prudent financial management and planning has ensured the council is now on firm foundations and the budget has been underspent for the past two years.
A word from the award’s sponsor
We all know that communities can benefit hugely from technology. The question is, how do we transform local public services so these benefits can be realised? With more than 30 years of public service delivery experience, deep technology expertise and a commitment to see change through, Capita is uniquely placed to drive digital transformation for the benefit of your communities. We:
- Intercept and accelerate current plans
- Automate and integrate effort (and therefore cost) across your organisation
- Anchor our approach with deep insight and agile methods
Harry Catherall, chief executive, Blackburn with Darwen BC
Martin Esom, chief executive, Waltham Forest LBC
Manjeet Gill, chief executive, West Lindsey DC
Andy Theedom, local government market director, Capita
Nick Walkley, chief executive, Haringey LBC