Service deliveryDigital Customer ServiceAylesbury Vale saves £4m through ‘simplify, standardise and share’ approach

Aylesbury Vale saves £4m through ‘simplify, standardise and share’ approach

New approach leads to 22% reduction in phone calls partly due to a fully integrated set of systems for payments and licensing

Aylesbury Vale District Council has transformed its service and realised at least £4m in savings over five years through the ‘simplify, standardise and share’ approach advocated by the Local CIO Council.

Socitm’s latest briefing, Right Here, Right Now: Putting the customer first in a digital transformation at Aylesbury Vale District Council describes how, in response to austerity and increased customer expectations, the Council went about dismantling its silos, simplifying and standardising service delivery processes.

The briefing explains how those leading change at the council recognised two key requirements for success. 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.

 

Digital shift

To achieve a shift away from face-to-face and telephony towards purely digital channels, the programme included creation of a new public website, an intranet for internal customers, a customer portal, and a customer relationship management system with integrated telephony.

Underlying this was a key requirement to simplify, standardise, and share automated processes. Website content was reduced from 1500 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.

The Council recognised that in order to make these customer contact improvements sustainable, it would need to organise itself differently, with a model built around the customer. Key to this was 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.

As a result of its approach, Aylesbury Vale has achieved £4m of savings over five years, without considering additional savings from greater mobility of staff and wider automation. Most of the savings are 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.

The council says the average cost of resolving a query is around 17p per website visit, compared to £5 per phone call and £14 for every face-to-face visit.

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 (LCIOC) 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.”

Right Here, Right Now: Putting the customer first in a digital transformation at Aylesbury Vale District Council can be downloaded free of charge by Socitm Insight subscribers at https://khub.net/group/socitm-insight/library

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