E-government programme management
The Isles of Scilly (IOS) Council is the smallest Unitary Authority in the UK. In addition to providing the full range of services required of a unitary authority, it also acts as a water authority and manages an airport. The Council had received the full Implementing Electronic Government (IEG) funding from the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister (ODPM) to deliver the requirements of e government but had limited resources to deliver the programme required. This meant that by December 2004, the only significant e-enabling project was the very successful implementation of web casting in the council chamber.
Socitm Consulting was engaged to manage the programme of change and to agree a pragmatic programme of delivery that would fulfil the requirements of IEG and the Priority Outcomes in a way that was relevant to this unique Council and was acceptable to the ODPM and then to manage the programme of projects necessary to deliver the programme agreed with the ODPM by March 2006.
With a council tax base of just over 1000, revenue has to be very closely managed. Negotiation of contracts to minimise the revenue costs over the next 5 years and managing the limited budget were therefore key requirements.
Our remit included the procurement and implementation of:
- New website and CMS system which included online benefits calculator and online planning.
- CAPS Uniform system to provide a corporate gazetteer and back office systems for planning elections, licensing, housing and technical services.
- An island-wide voice and data infrastructure, which brought the disparate offices and the airport within one telephone system and data network.
- Introducing a customer-focused front office, which included refurbishment and extension of the listed Town Hall reception, and e-enabling the services delivered at the front office.
In order to achieve this, the programme manager established an IEG board. A number of interrelated projects were established each with their own programme initiation document and project team. This programme was managed under Prince 2 methodology. The whole programme was monitored against the business plan that had been agreed with the ODPM. The programme manager reported regularly on progress to the P&R committee, Full Council and the ODPM.
The implementation of a new website also included the local implementation of a content management system. This provided a user friendly way of maintaining information on the website; easy access to up to date information for Citizens; electronic job vacancy information; on line planning information, all of which brought about major cultural change but with the benefit for departments to manage their own information and for departments to receive information from Citizens electronically.
The implementation of a new Voice and data network across all offices including the airport brought about cost savings as a result of rationalisation of a large number of separate telephone contracts.
The implementation of Electronic recording of service provision across a number of departments e.g planning ; housing ; environmental services provided access to all service provision information to the Council employees who were given access. These staff could then provide more immediate information in response to citizens requests for information.
The on line planning facility enabled citizens and their professional agencies to make planning applications electronically. This was of particular benefit to the Duchy of Cornwall who make the majority of the larger planning applications on Scilly. The use of such a system was a huge cultural change for the employees of IOS Council but provided much better information for the citizen
Socitm Consulting undertook and successfully delivered a pragmatic and appropriate e-government programme for the UK’s smallest unitary authority, which fulfilled the requirements of IEG and Priority Outcomes and was acceptable to the ODPM. This large project brought about major cultural changes within the Council and in turn improved customer service and brought about the opportunity for significant financial savings over the coming years.
Client organisation: Council of Isles of Scilly
Client contact: David Goddard, Director, 01720 424306, DGoddard@scilly.gov.uk
Lead consultant: Sue Davies
Project No. 5344
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