Bournemouth BC, Dorset CC & Borough of Poole
Electronic bundles and the digital courtroom
To reduce the costs of paper, printing, copying, couriers and storage, legal services staff from the three councils have worked with judges and the Courts & Tribunals Service to create paperless court bundles and digital family court rooms in Weymouth, Poole and Bournemouth. Local family court cases had doubled in volume over the past two years creating increased costs, including on expensive storage space. Court bundles can now be downloaded over Wi-Fi for use, saving some £70,000 a year for minimal cost. A digital courtroom complements the e-bundles with devices to encrypt these and software that allows documents to be streamed to a witness stand.
Your homes Newcastle
Your Homes Newcastle is an arm’s-length management organisation that manages more than 27,000 homes for the council. The arrival of a new managing director in 2016 led to the realisation that staff were hampered by cultural and working practices. A change programme was launched, named the Gap Year, to provide time to try out new ways of working and agree how things should change. The almo’s new core values are to be ‘ready, amazing, revolutionary and energetic’. Achievements include efficiencies of £2.5m during 2016-17 from a gross budget of some £40m, reduced sickness absence and a better partnering relationship with the council.
Sandwell Community Building Information Modelling Framework
Use of building information modelling is bringing the construction sector into the digital age with techniques that allow clients and building teams to design, engineer, procure, construct, maintain and manage their assets and buildings. It unites these processes and enables collaboration through 3D digital representations of projects and buildings. Sandwell wanted to spread this expertise to its whole supply chain and so has made a suite of BIM services accessible across its suppliers and contractors. It has made BIM services available to the NHS and West Midlands Combined Authority and launched an online app to help existing employees learn BIM techniques.
Facing the Future the Sandwell way
Facing the Future is an innovative transformational programme that has delivered millions of pounds of savings while protecting frontline services for residents. The council realised traditional ‘salami slicing’ of budgets could not deliver the scale of savings needed, so looked to find these by changing the way the council works. Facing the Future involves changes to traditional ways of working with the wholesale adoption of digital tools and closer working between departments. Sandwell has achieved a balanced budget for three consecutive years and is confident Facing the Future will help deliver the savings needed up to 2019-20.
Digital by Design Programme
Faced with successive budget cuts of £100m since 2010, Stockport had to deliver services more efficiently while meeting increasing demand. It invested £7.4m in its Digital by Design programme creating the capabilities needed to fundamentally transform the council. This included increased digital self-serve, creating digital tools to give staff a more joined-up view of residents and using technology to keep people better informed and connected. Digital by Design has seen a steady increase in people contacting the council online, now accounting for some 60% of contacts. Some 15,000 people have joined My Account to access services with a single sign-on.
Vale of Glamorgan Council
Reshaping Services has revolutionised the way the council works and is delivering significant benefits while customer satisfaction increases. It reaches across all departments and has been based on the insight that transformation cannot be ‘done’ to people so all staff have been invited to contribute ideas. Challenging but realistic targets for savings have been set and in 2016-17 the programme delivered £3.5m of savings. A programme board of elected members, officers and partners ensure linkages are made between projects and that learning is shared. The council is also seeking innovative ways of deriving income, including a trading company to provide schools catering.
Vale of Glamorgan Council
Forced to find huge savings in 2015, the council decided it must engage staff, from park attendants to planners, in the process, starting with 52 ‘coffee and toast’ meetings for more than 2,000 employees. This ‘call to arms’ soon became a self-generated series of themed conferences, reference groups and ad-hoc working groups. The umbrella for the engagement was the launch of an employee-crafted staff charter, a ‘stripped-back’ list of expectations and commitments between the council and its employees giving a set of behaviours, attitudes and ways of working necessary in response to the funding and service challenges.
With younger people moving into the area, Worthing needed a more sophisticated cultural offer. Taking a ‘build it and they will come’ approach, the town’s two theatres, assembly hall and cinema were placed in the council’s Worthing Theatres department to provide a weekly mix of music, drama, comedy and circus. Historically, the theatres had featured acts that had failed to draw in large enough audiences to sustain business. The theatres had become a drain on the council and could have been closed but by opting for more imaginative programming their fortunes have been turned round and seen an 88% increase in event profit during 2013-17.
Harry Catherall, chief executive, Blackburn with Darwen BC
John Coughlan, chief executive, Hampshire CC
Steven Halls, chief executive, Three Rivers DC
Philip Simpkins, chief executive, Bedford BC
Debbie Ward, chief executive, Dorset CC