Transforming the working environment and introducing more efficient access customer channels and self service

Shepway District Council

IT enabled change programme which is providing more accessible services and supporting flexible ways of working.

Challenge summary

The pressure of expectations from citizens for more accessible services and from employees for a flexible working environment, combined with the need to do more with less led Shepway District Council (SDC) to look at how it could operate differently.

Key points

  • £4.5 million savings over ten years
  • Transforming the working environment to enable mobile and flexible working
  • Improving customer service through the provision of more accessible channels

The challenge 

Local Government has been facing considerable challenges to provide ever more with fewer resources and public expectations continue to rise. SDC was looking to build on previous improvements to ensure local communities continue to have access to high quality services provided in the most cost effective and efficient way.
The Ways of Working Programme was created to deliver cost savings, whilst providing more accessible services and supporting staff in working from the right location for their role. To support these initiatives they wanted to address how they could better use council office locations to free accommodation space and implement new enabling technologies. To achieve a successful programme the Council recognised that they needed a partner with extensive experience in delivering business change programmes and ICT services.

Solution

Sopra Steria was selected as the Council’s partner to manage all aspects of its ICT services and deliver a programme of innovation and business process change.
Three key areas have been addressed as part of the transformational Ways of Working Programme:

  • Working Anywhere
  • Accessible Services
  • Customer Excellence

We have delivered an extensive programme of business process change, accommodation refresh and technology enablement; including Corporate Electronic Document and Records Management Solution, laptop rollout, the introduction of a flexible working solution the installation of network cabling and WiFi and the adaptation of existing telephony for remote working.

The programme has been delivered across planning, communities and administration services. Skills transfer is enabling the in house team to address finance and customer contact.

How we worked together

Sopra Steria has been working with SDC both in the delivery of the ICT service, as well as in the implementation of the change programme across the organisation. In the Ways of Working programme it was important that the SDC employees were involved at every stage of the business process redesign and our business change consultants developed a programme of engagement that was inclusive at all levels. Through a series of workshops and individual meetings every member of staff was consulted, which helped develop confidence and trust. Workshops were held around the two key themes, Working Anywhere and Accessible Services. Staff worked together to identify issues and concerns, challenge existing ways of working and to develop and agree the design principles that underpinned the entire programme: 

Working anywhere

  • Provide staff with access to the right information, at the right time, at the right location
  • Empower all staff to make appropriate decisions
  • Process design using centralised support functions
  • An office environment which embraces and supports working anywhere
  • Effective communication and support networks

Accessible services

  • Resolve customer enquiries at the first point of contact
  • Provide services around what the customer wants
  • Consistent quality of services around all channels
  • Promote web as the preferred choice of channel
  • Tell us once

In the redesign phase, a role analysis exercise was conducted with all staff to determine their workstyle and to understand their applications requirements. They are now working on a mobile, flexible or office basis which is helping to improve customer contact and worklife balance. 
To transform the business we have worked with SDC to implement a three tier organisation structure. The first point of contact is the contact centre which is now handling a significant percentage of enquiries. A newly-formed centralised administration team is providing corporate administration services and this is releasing officers to focus on professional activities. 

Benefits

  • £4.5 million savings over ten years
  • Refurbished building providing a comfortable working environment with a ratio of 6 hot desks for every 10 workers
  • Potential to generate c£250k pa in rental income from freed up office space

Client view

“Sopra Steria has demonstrated to us that it has the experience and capability to help us achieve a change in the way we work and we look forward to a long and successful partnership with them.” Deputy Chief Executive, Shepway District Council