At the Leadership Forum on Monday, April 29th, Stuart Ritchie, Director of Corporate & Housing Services, talked about the role his Service will play in the Council's transformation:
Over the next five years, Corporate & Housing Services will focus on projects that will champion self-service and embrace technology. We will investigate opportunities to share services and implement a re-design of our management structure all of which will provide added value to our customers, both externally and internally.
One of our transformation workstreams focuses on empowering our communities. As a Service, we want to empower our customers. One way we will do this is through self-help. This includes putting standard HR letters online so managers can pull them directly offline, direct data input from source rather than information been sent elsewhere to be entered, self-producing reports etc. By doing more for ourselves we will help speed up internal processes.
There will be a greater use of automation to improve performance, reduce costs, increase productivity and make our systems more reliable. I envisage Artificial Intelligence will provide us with a more efficient way to make payments and process transactions over the next five years. Not only will that move benefit the Council, it will satisfy our service users who now expect to be able to undertake transactions online 24/7.
Embracing technology will also help us digitise our end-to-end back office processes to better meet the needs of our communities. Internally, it will mean we can identify and solve problems quickly, cut down on paperwork and eliminate double keying. This will be enabled by the introduction of new systems to increase efficiencies such as electronic invoicing and online shift management systems for Building & Maintenance Division and Homecare. We will also need to identify a smarter way to do timesheets, moving away from archaic systems and finding a more responsive solution.
Potentially sharing services with other councils to help build resilience will feature in our thinking over the coming years. This means we could tap into another council’s expertise to help us provide a service rather than look externally.
By the end of this five-year process we will be a smaller council which means our services will need to be shaped differently so a re-design of our management structure will also be a key focus for us.
Moving towards a more modern, flexible, smart and efficient way of working will be challenging. It will take a significant change in our culture and that is why the business plan is essential. It provides us all with a unified purpose and ensures we have the correct organisational make-up and the right processes and skills in place to successfully change.