Pre-requisites for change
We have identified five key actions which will enable the council of the future to save money – as much as 10-20% of revenue costs – and at the same time improve customer service:
- Holding all information electronically
- Ensuring that the website works right first time, every time
- Being much more effective in using resources
- Realising the intended benefits
- Managing information as the key asset
These major changes can be addressed in manageable steps provided certain pre-requisites are in place. Get these pre-requisites right and change can happen quickly and effectively. Get them wrong, and any transformational change programme is doomed to fail.
So what are these pre-requisites for change?
The first requirement is to have a clear vision of the future shape of your organisation. Most leaders have a vision, but often it is introspective rather than outward looking: ‘to be an example of excellence in the public sector’ rather than ‘to deliver the services that customers need, at a time and in a way that suits their requirements’. The vision needs to be a concrete expression of how your organisation will appear to its customers in future, and it needs to be communicated to and bought into by all staff.
It’s vital to have a clear strategy that is capable of turning vision into reality. Many things go wrong at this stage:
- not having a strategy at all, or having one that lacks detail or measurable outcomes
- having a strategy that is so complex that it proves impossible to implement; trying to achieve everything at once, not breaking it down into manageable steps
- lacking the project and programme management skills to manage implementation
- losing sight of the vision, because of the detail of the strategy
- being inconsistent - not sharing the vision within the organisation or with partners.
Leadership is needed from the top of all the partners in public service delivery, driven by the political leaders and senior management. This should not be just vague words of support, but a real commitment that change will happen, that it will be customer-centric in its approach and that it will include all employees.
The organisation needs to be developing a culture that welcomes change, places the customer first (and recognises who the customers are), recognises the value of all its staff, and which fosters a sense of belonging to the organisation and its partners rather than to silos within it.
Information must be recognised as the organisation’s single most valuable asset, and managed as such. All information must be held electronically (which requires the organisation-wide adoption of an electronic document and records management system - EDRMS), and made available to those who need it when required. Information has to be up to date, accurate and relevant, as well as secure. Information sharing protocols must be in place to enable effective information sharing with partner organisations.
This demands complete flexibility in how employees are used, empowered and enabled to work at home, on site, or in customers’ homes to enable them to work efficiently and to deliver the best service to the customer. Hot-desking, and collaborative work areas (both physical and electronic) are available to provide flexible resources to staff.
Note that this is the last on the list! Systems are needed that will support the work of staff, provide the self-service capabilities to customers and the customer service functions for the customer facing staff; the technical infrastructure that keeps the organisation connected, both internally and with its partners. The changing face of technology means these systems need not necessarily be owned by the organisation.
How Socitm Consulting can help
- Developing and communicating the vision
- Business, customer, information and ICT strategy development
- Leadership training
- Change management and skills transfer
- Programme managing the implementation of electronic document and records handling
- Home, mobile and flexible working
- Advising on and assisting with implementing future-proof ICT systems and infrastructure
For more information or to discuss your requirements, please call us on 0845 450 0904 or use our online contact form.
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