A funding request that will enable the Council to begin redesigning services to meet the needs of an increasingly digitally savvy population was approved on March 5th.
At a meeting of the Council of the Future Board, a Change Fund bid for £236k, submitted by the Delivering Modern & Digital Services project team, was given the green light by elected members, directors and Chief Executive.
The money will be used to expand the Council's digital expertise, hiring two additional web developers, two service design analysts and a quality control programme analyst.
It will also fund a service design pilot project that will be supported by external experts. The aim of the six-week pilot will be to arm an initial 10 council officers with the digital knowhow to redesign services to meet the needs of modern society.
Fiona Campbell, Head of Policy, Technology & Improvement, and Project Sponsor for Delivering Modern & Digital Services, said: "Digital transformation is no longer optional for the Council, as the majority of our customers now expect services to be available to them online 24/7. To make that happen, we have to redesign how we operate to drive out efficiencies and deliver services to customers in a way they actually want, need and value. This funding allows us to build the skills needed to become a modern and digitally connected organisation by 2023/24."
Launched last year, the £700k Change Fund provides project managers with an opportunity to bid for money that will help transformational and cost effective Council of the Future projects speed up change.
During 2018/19, a total of £659k was allocated to the following projects:
- Delivering Modern & Digital Services - £236k
- Closer to Home - £228k
- Services for the Bereaved - £120k
- SWIS Replacement’s bid for £75k was also accepted. This will allow additional resources to be brought on board to drive the project forward
In February, elected members agreed to increase the amount of funding available through the Change Fund to £1m for 2019/20.
All projects undertaken in year 1 have met their individual savings targets.
Key successes include the:
- Advice Spokes & Hubs
- Next Generation Contact Centre
- Introduction of pool cars via Smart Working, Smart Travel
- Community engagement in the east and west localities
- Creation of the Closer to Home strategy and the Champions Board
- Modernisation of Bereavement Services
Will be immensely challenging, setting down significant savings targets for 2019/20.
Work is ongoing to firm up the Council's vision using the Three Horizons approach which will then feed into the business plan.
A re-design of the Council’s governance structure is underway which will ensure projects are delivered on time and to budget, and allow any issues to be quickly escalated to the CotF Board.
Closer to Home, Schools Transformation - senior phase, primary and Additional Support Needs, and Delivering Modern & Digital Services will be critical projects.
There will also be a focus on identifying potential opportunities to:
- Work collaboratively with other councils
- Identify ways services can become entrepreneurial
In total, £660k of the £700k Change Fund set aside for 2018/19 has now been allocated. This includes Year 1 of Delivering Modern & Digital Services.
The digital bid aims to enable various strands of the Council's new digital strategy, which will be put before members in the near future. The strategy aims to ensure processes are in place to allow the Council to deliver more services online. This will free up time and resources to provide face-to-face support to the most vulnerable in our communities.
The change fund bid for £236k will help take key elements of the strategy forward, providing the resources needed to redesign services to meet the needs of an increasingly digitally savvy population.
A session explaining the parameters of risk is to be arranged in conjunction with the Audit Committee. The session is aimed at new members of the Board.
East Ayrshire visit
The visit has been organised for April 9th. All members of the Board have been invited to attend.
During the visit , members will hear how East Ayrshire has successfully engaged with and empowered local communities to:
- take on assets
- launch community projects
- establish community councils and get involved in community groups
Questions have been compiled which will be addressed during the visit.