Leicestershire councils: mutually beneficial shared services

Hinckley and Bosworth Borough Council

   Delivering more reliable and resilient ICT services and providing resources to support strategic initiatives such as workforce enablement and citizen engagement.

The challenge

Hinckley and Bosworth Borough Council (HBBC) began working with Sopra Steria for the provision of ICT services in 2006. The partnership was the ideal foundation for establishing an ICT shared service which is helping all authorities cut the cost of ICT provision and delivering service improvements:

  • Oadby and Wigston Borough Council (OWBC) needed to support its own diverse ICT needs, keep up with technology trends and achieve ICT service improvement within a tight budget
  • Blaby District Council (BDC) already had a strong ICT service, but the increasing reliance on ICT to deliver services demanded a more resilient service and they needed to reduce the risk associated with key skills residing with a small number of people
  • Melton Borough Council (MBC) sought infrastructure resilience, service improvement and strategically important services such as a transactional web site in pursuit of their “Digital by Default” Transformation Programme.

Key points

  • Shared service which delivers efficiencies and ICT support focused on customer need
  • A practical and ambitious ICT roadmap to align with each council’s ICT strategic initiatives
  • Access to Sopra Steria’s wide skill base and considerable knowledge of delivering diverse technologies
  • Combined savings totalling around £500,000

Our solution

Sopra Steria’s solution for the four councils features an ICT shared service centre staffed by former council employees who were successfully transferred to the new organisation.

As part of a five year contract commencing 1st April 2009, that has subsequently been extended to 31st March 2016, Sopra Steria had been providing HBBC with a complete range of ICT services. These included data centre, voice, and server management, ICT and technical application support, expertise to support the introduction of home and mobile working, and service improvement initiatives.

The Sopra Steria solution features Sopra Steria’s Intelligent Service Desk (ISD) as a complement to the onsite team. This provides extended hours of cover with the aim of resolving 60% of all calls at the first point of contact, thereby providing significant service improvement to users. The on-site support team also has monitoring equipment within the shared Sopra Steria/ICT office.

The services we deliver continue to develop, in 2013 we undertook the successful relocation to the Hinckley Hub and implemented a new website at BDC.

How we worked together

Sopra Steria local government knowledge is something that HBBC has utilised and is very much part of the shared service partnership. In the same way that Sopra Steria has worked with HBBC to develop and implement an ICT roadmap strategy, the other partners will also benefit from a similar approach to technology evolution. Importantly, the ICT roadmap is designed to be both practical and ambitious so that the councils can keep moving forward. It will align each council’s ICT development with strategic initiatives, such as the need to provide council members with efficient and secure remote access.

The agreement with OWBC was signed in December 2008. Mark Hall, OWBC Chief Executive, comments: “Because we’re sharing services with Hinckley, we achieved the transition easily, cost effectively and pragmatically rather than if we’d outsourced our ICT services as a standalone venture.”

Blaby District Council joined the service in 2011 and their Chief Executive, says: “The ICT service has brought greater efficiencies, resilience and opportunities to improve the delivery of frontline services for local people.”

Joining in 2013, MBC’s Dawn Garton, Head of Central Services believes they are already reaping the benefits of the shared service. “We no longer have to worry about the cost and resilience of our ICT service. Instead we are focussing our efforts on delivering our transformation programme.”

HBBC’s Deputy Chief Executive says: “I knew we would be in safe hands as we sought to derive even more benefit. The efficiency of the service and Sopra Steria’s understanding of the council’s requirements allowed us to introduce other initiatives such as flexible working, website and mobile web development which have further improved service performance and provided further efficiency savings.”

Results and benefits

The shared service is delivering more efficient ICT services and customer service excellence, both for internal clients and local residents. The benefits include:

  • A reliable and robust infrastructure
  • Added resilience with a larger central ICT team providing back-up and availability of resources
  • Faster service delivery, with lower priority issues resolved within the day
  • Savings of more than £200,000 for HBBC, £70,00 for OWBC, £150,000 for BDC and £60,000 pa for MBC from 2014, with further savings to be generated as the ICT Roadmap is implemented
  • HBBC recognised for best practice, for the second year, in the 2013 SOCITM Better Connected benchmark of Local Government web sites.

Client view

"Our relationship with Sopra Steria has evolved to being a true partnership and we have together extended this to three neighbouring councils to deliver further service efficiencies and financial benefits." Deputy Chief Executive for Corporate Direction