Socitm says council has reduced cost of staff, accommodation and phone calls through ‘simplifiy, standardise and share’
Aylesbury Vale District Council has saved at least £4 million over the past five years through a three pronged approach in automating customer facing processes, according to public sector IT association Socitm.
It has published a briefing describing how the local authority took the ‘simplify, standardise and share’ approach – which Socitm is advocating as a path to digital transformation – in moving away from face-to-face and telephony for public contact.
This involved the creation of a new public website, an intranet for internal customers, a customer portal, and the installation of a new CRM with integrated telephony.
The briefing says the council recognised two key requirements. First, the wants and needs of the external customer are paramount if a digital programme is to achieve channel shift; and second, culture change must be driven and managed by and for internal customers within the organisation.
Underlying this was a key requirement to simplify, standardise, and share automated processes. The website was reduced from 1,500 pages to 300 and the same 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.
Reorganisation around customer
The council recognised that to make the customer contact improvements sustainable, it would need to organise itself differently, with a model built around the customer. This involved reducing the number of systems used down to a small number of cloud or managed services, and simplifying business processes and job roles to make these more flexible and interchangeable.
Socitm says most of the resultant savings have been from staff costs and accommodation, and there has been a 22% reduction in phone calls, partly due to a fully integrated set of systems for payments, licensing, single person council tax discount, council tax and business rates and garden waste services.
Martin Ferguson, director of policy and research at Socitm, said: “Delivering digitally enabled transformation using ‘simplify, standardise and share’ principles advocated by Socitm, Solace and the Local CIO Council requires continuous drive and leadership.
“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.
“Staff own the change, and start to do things differently because they have decided for themselves that it’s the right thing to do.”
Image: Howard Lake, Colchester, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons