North Tyneside Council | Business Transformation

Background

North Tyneside Council was determined to improve the way it provided services to the community and the changes would involve everyone – officers, elected members, customers and partners. It aimed to be one of the best councils in the UK: offering excellent services, managing budgets diligently and spending wisely.

Assignment

Oakland’s focus included the following elements of the wider transformation programme:

  • Leading the specification and procurement of a corporate Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system
  • Conducting end to end process reviews of key processes across the breadth of council services with a view to re-engineering processes, transforming service delivery and maximising the benefit of the technology implementation
  • Up-skilling council staff in the tools and techniques for process re-engineering to allow efficiency improvements to be implemented across all services in a cost effective manner on an ongoing basis.

Implementing an appropriate CRM system will bring about many benefits to the council and its customers and support the council in achieving its transformation and improvement objectives. However, the operational review of end to end processes alongside the implementation of CRM will enable the council to maximise efficiency savings and improve outcomes for service users.

The purpose of the project was to support the council in choosing the right technology for their needs and in delivering efficient and effective services which will meet both the immediate and future needs of the council and its partners and customers, and enable ongoing improvements to me made through the utilisation of internal resources.

Approach

Understanding the Current Situation

It was vital to understand the current situation within the organisation – ‘Who are the customers?’ ‘What are their needs?’ and ‘How does the organisation currently operate in respect of fulfilling customer needs?’.

This was essential in identifying opportunities for improvement as well as existing good practice, and to baseline current processes and costs to be able to demonstrate future improvements and savings.

A broad understanding of the current situation was achieved through:

  • The review of appropriate documentation
  • The analysis of metrics
  • Discussions and workshops with customer services, service delivery and ICT staff

Stakeholder Analysis

Transformational change requires cultural change. There is often resistance, and it is essential to introduce change management techniques from a very early stage in the project to ensure the difficulties which often arise during such projects are addressed in an appropriate manner.

This process included the identification of, and consultation with, key stakeholders to identify any early issues and concerns and to help gain ‘buy in’ and provide a foundation for ongoing communications.

This also provided a baseline for future ongoing communications regarding the programme, its impact and anticipated benefits.

Opportunities for Improvement

Whilst technology can be critical for managing customer contact and delivering services, the real value comes not in just implementing the technology to support current operational procedures but in assessing and re-engineering the processes and procedures to bring about a more streamlined and effective operation. This is where real customer benefit is demonstrated and where organisation efficiency is improved to demonstrate savings and additional value-add.

Oakland Consulting facilitated workshops to enable the mapping and documentation of existing processes across all of the councils’ services. The approach used enabled council staff to challenge the ‘status quo’, identified opportunities for improvements and cost savings and enabled Oakland to work with key staff to establish new ways of working for the future.

Skills Transfer

With budget constraints, it is essential for Local Authorities not to have to depend on consultants over the longer term. This can result in unacceptable levels of consultancy spend.

Oakland’s approach has always been one of supporting and facilitating change and then providing skills transfer to enable internal resources to ‘pick up the mantle’.

During the workshops, Oakland’s approach and techniques, along with core skills were transferred to North Tyneside’s internal teams to enable them to continue to challenge current ways of working and bring about the necessary changes in the future.

Specification of CRM Requirements

Once the scope of the project had been agreed and opportunities for improvement identified, the specification of the technology to underpin the business commenced.

The specification focused on the requirements of the customer and the business to ensure demonstrable benefits to the customer and the organisation, in terms of more efficient and effective operations. Additionally, any corporate ICT policies and strategies were accommodated through the involvement of the appropriate technical experts.

Oakland Consulting coordinated and provided expert input to the identification and documentation of system requirements, including:

  • Providing general guidance and support through detailed CRM knowledge and experience
  • Ensuring the specification focused on customer
  • insight and business need
  • Working with ICT specialists to ensure the requirements were aligned to the organisations ICT policies and strategies

Procurement of CRM Solution

Following the documentation of a complete system specification, the procurement process commenced. This involved procurement professionals with regard to advising on the appropriate procurement mechanism and in the provision of support throughout the process.

Oakland Consulting coordinated and led the system procurement, including:

  • Working with procurement professionals in managing the overall procurement process
  • Coordinating supplier demos and reference visits
  • Identifying and agreeing an evaluation approach
  • Coordinating and facilitating evaluation team activities
  • Documenting findings and evaluation scores
  • Liaising with the preferred supplier prior to contract award.

Achievements

Consultation with stakeholders addressed some initial reservations and provided a basis for ongoing staff consultation and involvement in change.

Existing key processes were documented and process waste identified, providing the council with opportunity to implement new ways of working alongside the implementation of corporate technology and providing the potential for some ‘quick wins’ as well as longer term efficiency opportunities.

Skills were transferred to key staff to enable them to use appropriate tools such as Oakland’s “Assumption Busting” technique to facilitate change and recognise savings.

The council were able to procure a suitable CRM solution within the agreed timescales and budget.

Overall, with new skills, a more positive approach to change, the right technology and better ways of working, North Tyneside Council is well placed to achieve its aim of being one of the best councils in the UK; offering excellent services, managing budgets diligently and spending wisely.

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