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Socitm plays up Aylesbury standardised digital overhaul approach

Neil Merrett Published 23 September 2016

Case study argues that £4m in savings was realised by authority over a five year period by taking more simplified, customer-focused approach to service implementation

 

Work by Aylesbury Vale District Council to realise an anticipated £4m in savings through a digital transformation agenda looking at simplifying and standardising processes reflects a best practice approach to overhaul public service delivery, Socitm has said.

Taking the authority as a case study, the public sector IT managers group has argued that in facing the pressures of reduced funding and increased user expectations, the council had decided to simplify and standardise its approach to introducing digital services.

Socitm said the authority had opted to move away from face-to-face and telephony services, towards purely digital functions supported by a new website and intranet for internal customers, as well as introducing a customer portal to better meet user needs.

Aylesbury Vale was also said to have prioritised the need of external users when undertaking channel shift to digital services, while allowing culture change within the organisation to be driven and managed by internal customers.

Over a five year period, the authority is claimed to have realised £4m in cost savings by cutting outgoings on staff, as well as reducing phone calls by 22%.  The introduction of a fully integrated series of systems performing functions like tax, business rate and garden waste services, as well as payment processing was partly seen as helping realise these benefits, according to Socitm.

“Underlying this was a key requirement to simplify, standardise, and share automated processes,” said the organisation in a briefing note. “Website content was reduced from 1500 pages to 300 and the same customer relationship management (CRM) system is now shared by all council functions. This provides a single view of the customer and a record of all their interactions, which is also shared with the customer.”

To support this transformation, Socitm said the council was required to reorganise how it undertook digital projects focused around customer need, such as by reducing systems to a smaller number of cloud or managed services.

Socitm policy and research head Martin Ferguson said Aylesbury Vale’s work reflected the organisation’s own ongoing advice around making use of the ‘simplify, standardise and share’ principles that was being backed by the Local CIO Council (LCIOC) and Solace.

“Aylesbury Vale provides a great example of how this can be done using a technique we have long advocated: explaining the need for change, and then letting the council’s staff themselves decide how that happens within the broad framework of ambitions and guidelines that leadership and management provide,” he said. “Staff own the change, and start to do things differently because they have decided for themselves that it’s the right thing to do.”

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