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Peterborough goes Google

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Communications are now instantaneous.

Huge amounts of information move through email and the internet and mobile technology allows us to do business anywhere.

Innovations in technology are improving operations and the way we work.

Peterborough City Council is using digital technology to transform the way it delivers services with Serco as the lynchpin, bringing new initiatives to life.

‘Going Google’ has been a highly successful transformation project for the city council. Taking a bold ‘big-bang’ approach, all staff and elected members have moved from Microsoft to Google applications in a fundamental step towards agile working. The council wants to improve efficiency, enable new ways of working, reduce desk occupancy and enhance the lifestyle of employees.

Peterborough’s business transformation and strategic intelligence team has been instrumental in implementing the technologies. The team has also transformed how it works to become true leaders and advocates of the new ways of working. All team members have access to a laptop or Chromebook, giving them greater flexibility to work in the council’s various locations or in the community with partners and, importantly, customers. To allow a smoother transition, team members’ computers were replaced in stages rather than in a one-off hit.

The team fully utilises all the Google applications for an array of activity including data analysis, app development, surveys, collaboration with council colleagues, workshop development and much more. They can access their work from any computer, anywhere with internet access and a browser. The team can access and edit the same documents and spreadsheets at the same time with colleagues across the council and Serco, which saves time and reduces the chance of error.

They use Gmail, Google Calendar and video, voice and text chat as naturally as they send email. This ensures project teams at various locations and across different areas of the council can engage with the team and each other in the most productive manner

The use of Google hangouts for meetings and instant messaging has reduced travel time significantly. Instant messaging works very well to request the latest information from the team when in meetings thanks to the quick responses that are possible.

Chromebox has been fantastic for presentations, allowing staff to use video conferencing technology at various locations. Presentations can reach a wider audience of participants virtually, saving considerable travel time.


The results

Increased sharing and collaboration: Google Drive and Dropbox enable easy sharing of documents. Staff spend less time searching a shared drive. The technology removes the confusion over different versions of documents, helps to make clear who is working on what, and allows remote access to files.

Flexible, more connected teams: Project teams no longer work in isolation; wherever they are, they are still connected to the wider team. This allows them to share ideas and to better keep track of progress.

Productivity: Peterborough staff now spend less time travelling to face-to-face meetings, making them more efficient. At the same time flexible working improves staff’s work-life balance.

Motivation: Providing staff with support and technology and helping staff to adopt new ways of working is an investment in Peterborough’s resources. This creates the right work environment and helps to motivate staff.

Change: The key to Peterborough’s success has been its recognition of this process as a transformation journey enabled by technology, which focused on the end goal. Technology was just the enabler; the bigger picture was understanding the desired outcome and supporting the staff through the change in a structured and supportive manner.

 For further information please contact: Heather Darwin m: 07717 067022 e:

Peterborough City Council chief executive Gillian Beasley has also gone Google and would be willing to provide a comment on her experience. If you would like to arrange this please contact Amanda Rose, service manager for communications for Peterborough City Council on 01733 452572 or

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