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Annual Report 2006 © Crown Copyright 2007< he text in this document (excluding the Royal Arms and departmental logos) may be reproduced free of charge in any format or medium providing that it is reproduced accurately and not used in a misleading context. The material must be acknowledged as Crown copyright and the title of the document specified.g
Transformational Government strategy sets out a six-year improvement journey for public services. In the first 18 months, we said we would deliver improvements already in the pipeline and build capacity for future transformation.
This is the first annual report showing progress towards delivering that strategy. We recognise within this report three things. Firstly, the progress we have made against each of our published work strands; secondly, the work we are doing to improve business change programmes that have an information and communication technology (ICT) element; and finally, the substantial benefit ICT provides to millions of people every day.
What has struck me in my short time as the Government Chief Information Officer is the sheer scale and complexity of the public sector and the ubiquitous uses to which ICT is put. It is amazing to think that we operate in over 140 countries, run some of Europe's and indeed the world's largest computer systems, and process tens of millions of transactions every single day of the year.
We are at the beginning of the Transformational Government strategy and we recognise that we have more to do — more to do on using ICT to improve public services; more to do on improving the value we create from the investment we make; and more to do on improving the success rate of our business change programmes.
We will provide a further update in our next annual report in 12 months' time.
The IT profession within the public sector has an estimated 50,000 dedicated people. Every day their dedication and hard work support those who keep the traffic flowing, who ensure that benefits are being paid, who save lives, who educate our children and who prevent crime. As Head of Profession, I would like to take this opportunity to thank them and also thank the tens of thousands of IT professionals in the private sector who support us in these endeavours.
This is the first Transformational Government annual report, covering progress across the three main themes of the strategy:
The report itself is divided into two parts. The first part, 'Driving the strategy forward', shows the overall progress made against the three themes outlined above The second part of the report, 'Contributions from public service providers', highlights the evidence of transformational change already apparent across the public sector.
Accompanying this report, there are a number of online publications and deliverables, including many case studies of successful technology-enabled projects. Information on the individual programmes for the devolved administrations in Northern Ireland Wales and Scotland is not contained within this report, but can be found on their own websites.
Working to the Delivery Council, the Service Design Authority has completed a number of tasks that will help to provide government with the knowledge, tools and techniques for establishing the wants, needs and preferences of both citizens and businesses. It has also provided input to the service transformation review undertaken by Sir David Varney as part of the 2007 Comprehensive Spending Review. The Service Design Authority is now working on a service transformation delivery plan under the leadership of Sir Gus O'Donnell.
The website rationalisation policy, endorsed by ministers in April 2006, requested pan-government guidance for plans to both rationalise content and migrate it to either the Directgov website (for citizens) or the Business Link website (for businesses). Thus far, 951 websites have been considered and, of these, 90 have already closed and a further 461 are planned to be closed. 374 of the remaining sites will be reviewed by June 2007, with a view to encouraging further rationalisation.
Sharing services represents a major change for government; already there are examples of significant progress. Transport for London has saved 30 per cent on human resources, the NHS has saved 34 per cent on processing financial transactions, the Ministry of Defence has achieved a cost reduction through the People, Pay and Pensions Agency, and the Department for Work and Pensions has released resources for front-line work. The shared service sector plans are available online.
The Chief Information Officer (CIO) Council has been working to identify barriers that prevent the sharing of services, and a report has been produced on breaking down these barriers. This has included a toolkit for practitioners. Both the report and the toolkit are available online.
The development of the Government Gateway acts as an exemplar of the common infrastructure model, providing a means for accessing over 100 government services online for 9 million plus citizens.
The Government has a dedicated committee for developing an information sharing strategy across the public sector. A vision for data sharing has already been published (September 2006) making it clear that Government is committed to greater information sharing in instances where it is in the public interest, including fighting crime, providing opportunities for the most disadvantaged and delivering better public services. A full information sharing strategy is planned for summer 2007. Information sharing is being used to explore new and better methods of supporting the most disadvantaged, who need help across a number of public bodies.
The Identity and Passport Service leads on identity management, with the aim of improving government services by the more effective shared use of data. In 2006, the Government created both a Ministerial Committee and the Public Private Forum on Identity Management. Sir David Varney reported and presented a case for making the most of existing identity management assets and wider data sharing to improve front-line services.
The Chief Technical Officer Council has agreed and published the first release of a cross-government Enterprise Architecture that addresses the issues of reusing services and removing the technical barriers affecting data sharing.
Government needs the skills to deliver the technology-enabled programmes that will transform public services. The Government IT Profession has been launched with the aim of putting such advisers on a par with other policy, legal, statistical or economic advisers.
Since July 2005, over 7,000 people have registered with the Government IT Profession and, during 2005, a competency and skills framework was introduced that will raise the quality and consistency of assessment across the Civil Service. The broader capabilities required to deliver these technology enabled programmes are being addressed via close working with the programme and project management and procurement professions (both headed by the Office of Government Commerce (OGC)).
Two workshops were held in 2006, jointly with the National School of Government and the Said Business School, with more planned in January and February 2007. Following on from these workshops, a strategy for the creation of a Government IT Academy is due to be finalised early in 2007.
Support has also been given to departments to ensure that the right people with the right skills are in the key roles. This has seen the role of the CIO established as a board-level position. In August 2006, the Technology in Business Fast Stream recruitment route to the Civil Service was created for those who have the potential to be the CIOs of the future.
Building on a report from the National Audit Office (NAO), CIOs are working with the OGC to create the conditions for more reliable project delivery and to learn the lessons from those projects that have been delivered successfully. Working
with OGC, the CIO Council has also approved new measures that ensure the public sector both launches the right programmes (portfolio management) and then manages and implements them in the right way (programme roles and control mechanisms).
It is intended that the introduction of portfolio management will provide oversight of each department's individual portfolio, as well as a view across the whole central government portfolio. This will ensure that, among other things, opportunities for sharing are recognised, and the right resources are allocated based on priorities. The programme roles and control mechanisms will bring robustness to the appointments made to key roles (eg senior responsible owners and programme directors) as well as hard-edged decision making relating to stopping or restarting a programme.
The data presented on page 23 shows the IT expenditure in 2005/06 of those parts of the public sector represented on the CIO Council (with the exception of the Government Communications Headquarters).
The aim of the CIO Council's supplier management initiative is to make the Government a world-class IT purchaser, obtaining best value for taxpayers. Deliverables already include the first forward look at demand and supply of IT
services (ICT Capacity Project Report); a framework that presents performance data on suppliers (Common Assessment Framework); a series of cross-government reviews of the most strategically important suppliers; and the establishment of a joint CIO Council/suppliers board that ensures consistent standards from suppliers, and aims to reduce supplier costs to the
Government by up to 20 per cent while driving up IT delivery (the Strategic Supply Board).
Information is presented by the following departments and local government CIOs:
There are many examples of delivery against a backdrop of great scale and complexity:
For pupils, investment in technology is making a real difference to educational attainment, with ICT Test Bed schools demonstrating twice the national rate of improvement in key stage 2 English.
Picture and Communications Systems are now benefiting over 250,000 hospital patients per week. Using digital x-rays eliminates problems of lost x-rays and the need to reschedule 5,000 patient procedures a year or x-ray some patients twice. Emerging findings indicate that hospitals implementing these systems can free up about 100,000 staff hours a year to focus better on patients.
The Pension Service is in the process of implementing a major transformation programme. It has replaced and simplified processes and, as a result, each transformed pension centre is now dealing with its customers' state pension claims in one 20-minute telephone call — rather than talking to customers for at least two hours and on several different occasions. This has resulted in high levels of satisfaction for both customers and staff. By 2011/12, The Pension Service will be saving £170 million annually in operating costs.
There are also further case studies available online, each of which has been endorsed by the department concerned.
Part 1 of this report provides an overview of progress made in the last year across the three main themes of the Transformational Government strategy: customer-centric services, shared services and professionalism (including reliable project delivery, strategic supplier management and CIO Council IT expenditure). A detailed analysis of progress against the Transformational Government implementation plan is available online.
Government departments help vast numbers of people, process massive amounts of information and manage millions of financial transactions every day of every week.
The National Insurance Recording System manages over £300 billion and is one of Europe's largest IT systems.
The Police National Computer handles around 10 million information requests each month.
The Foreign & Commonwealth Office's network links 16,000 users in 240 posts across 144 countries, making it one of world's largest and most geographically dispersed IT networks.
The Department for Work and Pensions manages a larger annual turnover than the national income of the Republic of Ireland.
The Department for Work and Pensions delivers 13 million benefit payments each week — more than £100 billion each year — and helps 4,000 people into jobs each day.
The Defence Information Infrastructure will reach 300,000 users on 150,000 terminals at almost 2,000 Ministry of Defence sites around the world
In 2005/06, HM Revenue & Customs handled £395 billion in receipts and administered £17 billion in payments.
Government is delivering high-quality, accessible services to millions of citizens, businesses and front-line workers every day.
Customers can now apply for both State Pension and Pension Credit in one 20-minute telephone call, and the information collected is also used to assess eligibility for Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit.
Almost 2 million people filed their self-assessment tax returns online during the filing period ending 31 January 2006.
Around 100,000 families will get IT equipment and a safe internet connection for learning as part of the Computers for Pupils initiative.
Each day, almost 1million primary school children use e-learning in their classrooms.
More than 1.9 million hospital appointments have been booked electronically, and over 9 million electronic prescriptions have now been issued.
New electronic border-control systems have generated 4,456 alerts to border agencies and have resulted in 315 arrests.
Technology has altered the expectations and aspirations of citizens, businesses and front-line workers.
Private sector transformation now provides people with a range of convenient, high-quality and often personalised services.
In part, the drive for improvement has come from forces outside government. However, pressure to change has also come from within government itself. In the 2002 Spending Review, more than £6 billion of new money was committed to public sector technology.
This enabled a wave of modernisation in health, education and criminal justice — some of the world's most challenging operational environments which create the most demanding transformation projects.
Access to technology was an important early goal of this investment. The most disadvantaged people can and do benefit from technology in public services. For example, homeless people have the opportunity to learn new skills, to keep in touch with family and to learn about accommodation or work through mobile telephones or an internet terminal in a hostel.
To invest these new resources, public services had to tackle structural problems that had lain dormant for many years while funds had been scarce: a lack of customer focus, large-scale duplication and a shortage of technology skills both in the public sector and among its suppliers.
"We cannot leave public services as they were, we must build them around the personal aspirations of the individual - renewal must and will be built upon these essential truths: a flexible economy, reformed and personalised public services
"Two-thirds of the country has access to the internet. Millions of people are ordering flights or books or other goods online, they are talking to their friends online, downloading music, all of it when they want to, not when the shop or office is open.
The Google generation has moved beyond the idea of 9 to 5, closed on weekends and Bank Holidays. Today's technology is profoundly empowering.
Of course public services are different. Their values are different. But today people won't accept a service handed down from on high. They want to shape it to their needs, and the reality of their lives"
Rt Hon Tony Blair MP, speech to Labour Party Conference 2006
The 2005 Transformational Government strategy set out how government will tackle these problems and enable transformation.
In 2005/06 the Transformational Government agenda has moved to the heart of public service reform.
The principles of Transformational Government are at the core of Sir David Varney's review of service transformation, which the Chancellor has published as part of the analysis informing the 2007 Comprehensive Spending Review: Service transformation: A better service for citizens and businesses, a better deal for the taxpayer. The Government has commissioned a delivery plan to implement the report's findings, to be published in 2007.
The departmental Capability Reviews also embody the principles of Transformational Government.
As with any ambitious transformation agenda, we have had to learn lessons and acknowledge shortcomings. Sometimes things have gone wrong and we regret that. However, independent studies such as those carried out byThe Standish Group in March 2003 confirm that the public sector success rate for technology-enabled change projects is very similar to that of the private sector, but we must do much more to improve our performance.
"In schools we were way behind other countries in computers and IT €¦ in the CJS [criminal justice system] there was no common IT system at all €¦ there was a sense that the service was there, delivered to the consumer without much regard to their needs and preferences €¦ the lack of investment masked what was in reality a much more profound problem than funding alone. It was a failure to modernise.€
Rt Hon Tony Blair MP, speech to the Labour Party National Policy Forum, 9 July 2005
"Public spending will be very tightly constrained in the next few years to conform with the macro-economic policy framework. This underlines the importance of IT-enabled transformation in enabling us to continue the improvements we have seen in public services while maintaining €¦stability.€
Rt Hon Stephen Timms MP, Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Interview, Computing, 20 July 2006
"We must be relentlessly customer-focused. Many people want a single point of contact for a range of services. The public are not interested in whether their needs are met by department X or agency Y, they just want a good, joined-up service where X and Y talk to each other and share the information the public have provided. We should strive to meet this demand.€
Under the direction of the Delivery Council, the Service Design Authority has:
designed tools and techniques to allow government to use what it knows and discovers about what really matters to citizens and businesses to shape the services that affect them. The tools, techniques and exemplars are available online/a>
established the Customer Insight Forum as a network to help government gather, analyse and use information about the needs and preferences of citizens and businesses more effectively. Its work directly supports both the Transformational Government strategy and the Government Communications Group's Engage programme;
in partnership with departments, agencies and local government developed an approach to using different service delivery channels, for example face to face, telephone and online, to their best advantage. This approach will be piloted with Dudley Metropolitan Borough Council;
developed a model for the greater use of online channels to enable citizens to access services more effectively. This model will be piloted with the collaboration of Tameside Metropolitan Borough Council;
provided input on customer insight and service delivery channels strategy to the work of the Service Transformation Review undertaken by Sir David Varney on behalf of the Chancellor of the Exchequer as part of the 2007 Comprehensive Spending Review. A delivery plan is now in development for this review; and
designed and is seeking agreement for a pilot to test the effect of putting decision making about how best to meet customers' needs into the hands of front-line staff.
The Government's objective is to have strong, strategically effective communications and service delivery via the internet, designed around the needs and lifestyles of citizens.
In the first phase of departmental reviews, 951 websites were considered across 16 central government departments. Decisions have already been taken to close 551 (58 per cent) of these websites; 90 sites have already closed. Decisions have also been taken to continue with 26 websites — although some of their current content will move to Directgov and Business Link — and decisions on the remaining 374 sites will be taken in the next six months.
Further discussions will take place over the next few months in order to produce detailed implementation plans, confirm the role of departmental corporate sites, extend the review to executive agencies and non-departmental public bodies, and encourage further collaboration between departments. This will be completed by June 2007.
Directgovis an award-winning cross-government transformation programme with citizens as its focus. Since 2004, it has grown from 800,000 customer visits a month to over 5 million. It now involves 18 government departments and has links to services in nearly all 388 local authorities in England. It can be accessed via the internet, via digital television through Sky, ntl: and Telewest, and via mobile telephones. Independent research has shown high levels of customer satisfaction: 83 per cent of people who visit Directgov agree that it is a 'good place to start' and 80 per cent that it offers 'useful information'. Importantly, 70 per cent of people feel that it is 'a site I trust'. It is consistently rated in the top three government websites by usage as monitored by the independent service Hitwise and is now within the top 100 websites by usage in the UK.
Government corporate services (human resources, finance, IT, procurement, etc) could be delivered through a handful of professional organisations — serving a minimum of 20,000 but preferably 50,000 or more customers.
Staff will be experts in their field and will operate standard business processes on a minimum number of different systems platforms.
Users will take control of the information, enjoying the highest levels of control, assurance, transparency and self-service.
Shared service organisations will be characterised by continuous improvement, contestability of supply and transparency of performance.
Sharing services, knowledge, infrastructure and technology represents a major change for government. By working more closely together, both across and within departments, government can save money, reduce waste and move closer to delivering services in the way that citizens want and expect.
Transport for London has saved 30 per cent on its human resources spend in the first year of operating its shared service centre.
The NHS Shared Business Service has saved 108 health trusts an average of 34 per cent of the cost of processing finance transactions through shared finance services. It is on track to deliver savings of more than £220 million over 10 years.
The Ministry of Defence's People, Pay and Pensions Agency is reducing costs at the same time as improving quality. Through sharing and related reforms, the Department is expecting a net benefit of over £300 million during the next 10 years.
The Department for Work and Pensions Shared Services organisation was launched on 1 September 2006, bringing together a wide range of functions, from customer payments and debts to employee services for the Department's 110,000 staff, releasing resources for front-line work.
Shared service sector plans covering the UK public sector are available online. Highlights from the plans include the following:
The education and skills sector is promoting sharing across schools, further education colleges and universities. Work is focusing on finance, human resources and, potentially, learner administration, as well as exploring other ways of collaborating across organisations.
The health sector will soon begin sharing services in human resources as well as finance. With 1.2 million employees throughout the sector, this is potentially the largest shared services implementation in the world.
Shared services are integral to the Home Office's current action plans and several departments' Capability Review implementation plans.
The Department for Transport and the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs are each implementing plans to share corporate services with their respective agencies with the aim of delivering benefits to the front line.
Most departments have expressed an interest in buying corporate services from another organisation. A number have a preference for buying from another central government organisation. This creates the possibility of convergence within the central government sector.
Local government has already explored shared services in the front office. One-stop shops and the subsequent joining up of back-office functions are a key example of this. Local authorities are also exploiting shared business functions (eg refuse collection).
The CIO Council's Shared Services Team has been working closely with the market to ensure suppliers can support the shared service agenda, and with departments to plan and implement shared services.
The team has identified barriers to sharing and is working to break them down wherever possible. A progress report on removing barriers is available online.
A toolkit that provides shared service examples, guidelines and templates is available online and has been accessed by practitioners around 1,500 times each week.
The Government Gateway is an exemplar of the 'build-once-use-often' common infrastructure model. It provides departments and local authorities with a consistent interface through which their customers — and their agents — can securely access over 100 government online services. There are currently over 9 million active enrolments by individuals, agents and organisations, and Gateway availability stands at 99.96 per cent for the last 12-month period.
Government is using information sharing to expand opportunities for the most disadvantaged, particularly those adults who require support from a number of different public bodies. One aim of the social exclusion action plan, published in September 2006, is to share information so as to identify people with multiple needs and then better manage the provision of services to them.
A programme of pilots will explore alternative approaches to supporting these people. This will give government a better understanding of what information needs to be shared, (for example police, housing and employment information), how to achieve this and what barriers exist to the effective sharing of information to benefit this group.
Defra's Whole Farm Approach will drastically reduce the number of forms a farmer has to complete and deliver savings to the industry of up to £16.5m per year.
Managing customer identity information more effectively and improving the way data is shared will help government improve the quality of the services it provides, target resources more efficiently and reduce the need for repeated customer contact.
The Identity and Passport Service leads on identity management policy, and one of its corporate objectives is to transform practice across the public and private sectors.
established the Public Private Forum on Identity Management chaired by Sir James Crosby; and
commissioned the Service Transformation Review, led by Sir David Varney, which has now reported and presents a case for making the most of existing identity management assets and wider data sharing to improve front-line services.
The key achievement of the Chief Technical Officer Council over the last year has been the agreement and publication of Release 1 of the cross-government Enterprise Architecture. The first release of this Enterprise Architecture focuses on building the initial portfolio of opportunities to share and reuse proven services, patterns and designs. It also addresses the technical barriers to data sharing by providing a route to interoperability across government through a common infrastructure. This will help decision makers reduce the total cost of ownership and deliver improvements to services in a quicker and more efficient way.
To use technology to transform public services, we need to have the skills within government to plan, develop and deliver large-scale, technology-enabled business transformation programmes.
We have launched a new profession within government that will ultimately put technology advisers on a par with policy, legal, statistical or economic advisers. More than 7,000 people have joined the Government IT Profession since it was launched in July 2005.
The Government IT Profession offers training, career development and a framework of standards for IT staff across the public services to help increase technology and delivery expertise.
During 2005, the Government IT Profession skills framework was launched, based on the industry standard Skills Framework for the Information Age. As part of the Professional Skills for Government programme, this framework now underpins the recruitment, performance management and skills assessment of all civil servants working in IT. This will raise the quality and consistency of staff assessment across the Civil Service.
The Government has strengthened its relationship with the industry-wide IT profession in the UK. The Government is working with the ProfIT Alliance to raise the standards of professionalism in the demand and supply side of the IT industry and to establish the infrastructure of a formal IT profession.
Improving policy delivery is not just about the Government IT Profession: technology needs to be reflected in policy-makers' skills frameworks too — just as an understanding of law and economics is now. We are working closely with the Department of Trade and Industry and the Sector Skills Councils for IT and Telecommunications, and government, to develop a blueprint for the IT skills required by non-IT professionals across government.
We are also working closely with other public sector professions to build the broader capabilities required to successfully deliver large-scale change. In particular, we are working closely with the OGC — in its capacity as Head of Profession for the Programme and Project Management and Procurement professions — to ensure that the necessary skills are embedded in departments.
"The Government IT Profession is taking a lead role in the development of a broader, industry-wide IT profession. Innovations like the new Technology in Business Fast Stream for talented graduates send the significant message that technology and delivery skills are no longer second class; they are a priority for government.€
To ensure that we have the skills within government to plan, develop and deliver large-scale, technology-enabled business transformation programmes, we need a focus on training.
We successfully piloted two workshops in 2006, developed and delivered with the National School of Government and the University of Oxford's Said Business School. We plan to run these again in January and February 2007. Following the success of the pilot, we have worked with the National School of Government to develop a strategy to create a Government IT Academy. The strategy is currently undergoing
consultation and will be finalised early in 2007. The Academy will have a strong virtual element and will build upon existing development opportunities. It will develop IT skills that:
complement the 'core' skills in the Professional Skills for Government programme.
We are currently developing seminar and secondment programmes as part of the Academy, and plan to launch both during 2007.
We have continued to provide support to departments and large-scale business change programmes to ensure that the right individuals with the right skills are deployed to key roles. This brokering role had not previously existed — major technology appointments used to be made in isolation. In particular, a number of departments have formally established the Chief Information Officer role as a board-level position.
In August 2006, we launched the Technology in Business Fast Stream — a new scheme to recruit technology graduates as part of the Civil Service Fast Stream. The scheme will provide an entry route for talented graduates interested in delivering technology-enabled change in the public sector, and who have the potential to become future Chief Information Officers or leaders of large-scale, IT-enabled business change.
"Having started my Civil Service career as a tax inspector at the Inland Revenue in the 1970s, I know from experience that a career structure that rewards professional competence leads to successful delivery of public services. As the new CIO at the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), the Transformational Government strategy provides my business colleagues and me with clear direction and a framework for developing the professional skills of my staff."
CIOs are working with OGC to create the conditions for greater certainty of success in public sector business change programmes. OGC Gateway Review was an early foundation stone: the National Audit Office (NAO) has recognised that it (and other measures) have strengthened our capability year on year.
CIOs and OGC have worked with NAO to learn lessons from successful public and private sector programmes and projects in the UK and overseas. The recent NAO report 'Delivering successful IT-enabled business change' provides recommendations on how departments can take these forward.
The CIO Council has approved new measures to help ensure that the public sector launches the right IT projects and then manages and implements them well. These new measures build on good practice in DWP, HM Revenue and Customs and Criminal Justice IT. They have been developed — and will be implemented — with input from OGC, to ensure that they complement the Gateway review and other processes.
There has been no strategic management of the government's overall investment in IT since the mid-1970s, when all government computers were owned by a single organisation.
Portfolio management is being introduced to provide oversight of, and insight into, significant change programmes that are underway in each department and therefore central government as a whole. Through portfolio management we are seeking to:
The portfolio management process will also provide a viewing platform from which to ensure that the of failure are not occurring and that the findings from the recent NAO report are being adhered to.
Relevant case studies and a detailed description of the portfolio management process can be found on the CIO website.
"This report should act as an encouragement to those in government responsible for IT-enabled business change to believe that success is entirely possible.€
CIOs will bring further improvements in management capability by ensuring the robustness of appointments and the recognition of role responsibilities. Improvements will include the following:
Ensuring that those appointed to key roles such as senior responsible owner and programme director have skills and experience that are commensurate with programme complexity and risk.
Encouraging departments to recognise that senior responsible owner roles are critical to programme success, and that these individuals must therefore be afforded the time to fulfil their programme responsibilities.
CIOs will also bring increased rigour to the established programme control mechanisms, based on best practice already being applied successfully in some departments. The approach complements project management and other processes already in use, and further reduces the risk of failure by providing a hard-edged control mechanism that can stop or restart a programme at key points in its life cycle — from policy formation through to benefits realisation. The approach is set out in more detail on the CIO website.
Delivering success in the public sector is tough and the risk of failure is often high. The diversity and complexity of the public sector, the scale and security requirements of its operations, and the need to respond to policy change and legislative deadlines all mean that legacy issues can be expected to continue to surface. As issues arise we will review our policies, our approach, our training and risk management, and will implement changes to avoid repetition of the issue.
This annual report details other activities that are underway and that also have a positive impact on the success rate of programmes and projects. They include the professionalism agenda that aims to increase the breadth and depth of our information and communication technology teams, our work with suppliers to improve the transparency, team working and understanding between buyers and sellers, and the common infrastructure activities that seek to reuse existing assets rather than building new systems and facilities from scratch every time.
The data shown here relates to the IT
expenditure in 2005/06 of those parts
of the public sector represented on
the CIO Council, with the exception of
the Government Communications
Headquarters, for which special rules
apply. Other parts of the public sector,
not represented on the CIO Council,
are not included here. Explanatory
notes are provided, as accounting
practices in relation to IT expenditure
can vary across the public sector.
The CIO Council's goal is that government should become a world-class IT purchaser — delivering to the public and government staff modern, reliable services that offer the best value for the taxpayer and being a flagship customer for the best and most innovative IT suppliers.
The CIO Council's supplier management initiative will deliver the programme of action set out in the Transformational Government strategy. Acting on behalf of the Council and under the leadership of the CIO of DWP, OGC has already done the following:
Published the first forward look at supply and demand for IT services ( IT Capacity Project Report). While a number of capability issues were identified, the project concluded that there is unlikely to be a widespread shortfall in ICT delivery capacity over the next three years. The Government needs to ensure that it has a detailed understanding of the IT market's capability and capacity, together with the Government's impact upon it. This analysis will be repeated every six months. Information about significant planned government procurements can be found online.
Established a Common Assessment Framework for IT suppliers, which presents consistent and objective performance data on the work that key suppliers are carrying out across government. The IT industry was closely consulted in the preparation of the framework through the trade association Intellect. It embodies relevant elements from Intellect's own supplier code of best practice.
Completed the first ever round of formal cross-government reviews of the performance of each of the most strategically important IT suppliers, engaging all CIOs who are customers of those suppliers and agreeing actions to drive improvement where necessary. Supplier development plans will be developed on an incremental basis.
In addition to this, the CIO Council and the chief executives of the key IT suppliers have established a Strategic Supply Board to give further strategic impetus to improvement throughout the supply chain. The Board has set itself goals of substantial and sustainable improvement in three key areas over the next four years:
To ensure that all departments and all suppliers consistently meet the best standards for project and programme delivery by 2010.
To reduce the costs of government IT by up to 20 per cent overall (including up to 40 per cent in the total cost of government desktop), sharing the benefits between reinvestment in the technology needed for further reforms in public services and contributing to the overall financial and efficiency targets that departments will have to meet.
To steadily improve procurement management year on year, so that by 2010 best practice is applied to all procurement and all procurement happens according to agreed timescales.
"These bold aspirations will require a radical reappraisal of the way we do things in government — and will require a willingness on the part of both government and industry to transform the way we operate, considering new approaches to delivery.€
This part of the report highlights evidence of transformational change already apparent across the public sector. This information has been contributed by the departments listed below and by local government CIOs.
Children, learners and teachers are benefiting from a £3.5 billion information and communication technology investment in education, skills and children's services.
Almost 16 million users have access to broadband throughout the education system
350,000 teachers are saving time by using ICT for lesson planning and administration
The Department for Education and Skills is leading the drive to use new technology to transform teaching and learning across 23,000 schools, and throughout further and higher education, skills training, adult learning and children's services.
For pupils, investment in technology is making a real difference to educational attainment, with ICT Test Bed schools demonstrating twice the national rate of improvement in Key Stage 2 English.
The use of digital content and services supports personalised learning — widely recognised as key to raising educational attainment. Learning technologies are particularly helpful in engaging marginalised and under-achieving pupils and in improving motivation.
In 2005/06, over £500 million was invested in ICT in schools: all schools now have broadband access and are linked to the National Education Network.
To ensure that locally-procured ICT offers the best value and meets the right standards, which offer national purchasing power while still respecting local independence are being put in place.
Computers for Pupils, a £60 million initiative to install ICT in the homes of some of the most disadvantaged pupils in England, was launched in 2006. Over an 18-month period, computing equipment and a safe internet connection for learning will be installed for around 100,000 families.
MyGuide was also piloted in 2006: it is a facility that seeks to make the internet more accessible and usable for large groups of people who do not currently use it — whether because of disability or a lack of skills or confidence.
Shirelands, a secondary school for 11 —19-year-olds in the West Midlands, is using a virtual learning environment.
It offers an online pool of learning resources and facilities, enabling teachers to share lesson plans and best practice.
It provides access to a personal online space for pupils, parents and teachers — not only for this school but for nine other local participating schools.
Teachers can allocate individual tasks for pupils, pupils can access resources and ask for online support from teachers from home, and parents can get more involved by checking progress and homework.
Rylands High School in South Africa is also connected, making it possible for pupils to collaborate on school projects and join assemblies via video conference.
The Government is committed to introducing an information-sharing index to support the work of children's services in all areas of England by the end of 2008. The index will help to transform children's services by supporting more effective prevention and early intervention, and contributing to improved outcomes and experiences of public services for all children, young people and families.
The index will do this by supporting better communication among practitioners across education, health, social care and youth offending, allowing them to contact one another more easily and quickly. Where appropriate, the index will allow these individuals to share information about children and young people who need services or about whose welfare they are concerned.
National Programme for IT is the world's largest civil IT project. It includes the following:
An electronic NHS Care Records Service to improve the sharing of patients' records across the NHS with their consent.
An electronic booking service — Choose and Book — to make it easier and faster to book hospital appointments for patients.
A national network which will ensure that the IT infrastructure can meet NHS needs — both now and in the future.
By enabling better management of patient information and access for health professionals to that information when and where it is needed, including in an emergency, the National Programme for IT can improve care and increase patient safety. For example, it can help to reduce mistakes in prescribing and dispensing medication, as well as delivering greater protection for the confidentiality of patient information.
Picture Archiving and Communications Systems are now benefiting over 250,000 patients every week. Using digital x-rays eliminates problems of lost x-rays (up to 12 per cent can be lost with traditional x-ray films) and the need to reschedule 5,000 patient procedures a year, or to x-ray some patients twice. Emerging findings indicate that hospitals implementing these systems can free up about 100,000 staff hours a year (equivalent to 50 members of staff) to focus on patients better.
Every week, hundreds of members of NHS staff now successfully receive new systems. As a result, tens of thousands more patients receive better care. The National Programme for IT now delivers more IT support than any other public service organisation in the country. It also continues to run large heritage systems and install major software upgrades on time, to budget and without problems.
The Quality Management and Analysis System — which gives GP practices and primary care trusts objective evidence and feedback on the quality of care delivered to patients — and the national Choose and Book service — which for the first time combines electronic booking with a choice of place, date and time for first outpatient appointments — are other examples of the successful introduction of IT by the National Programme for IT.
The delivery of over 16,000 connections to the NHS national network on time and to budget is a major milestone.
More than 1.9 million hospital appointments have now been booked electronically — at a rate of 12,000 a day. These account for about 31 per cent of NHS referrals for treatment.
Sixty-five new Picture Archiving and Communications Systems are now live and more than 119 million digital images have been stored, benefiting over 12 million patients per year.
When complete, the NHS network will be one of the largest virtual private networks in the world. More than 16,000 NHS locations are connected already, and over 1million patient records are successfully retrieved from the Personal Demographics Service every day, helping to correctly identify patients.
As well as the national systems, over 16,000 local systems are serving well over 300,000 NHS staff.
The National Programme for IT is a large, complex programme, and the NHS is one of the world's largest organisations, itself undergoing radical change to deliver better healthcare for people. A key challenge is to introduce modern IT and the business changes necessary to exploit it fully without impacting the safe delivery of care.
In a 10-year programme of this size, scale and complexity, it is to be expected that there will be issues and difficulties; NHS Connecting for Health has been open about this.
The National Programme for IT has set itself ambitious and challenging targets to deliver systems to provide defined benefits. It believes it is better to delay implementation of a system to get it right for patients and clinicians, rather than to deploy it rapidly and get it wrong.
The software to support key national elements of the programme has been delivered on time and to budget, and parts of the national systems have gone live as planned. There have been delays to the clinical record system due to the complexity of developing software that interacts with a large number of existing systems, and also due to the need to get doctors to agree on the contents of electronic health records. The cost of these delays is being met by ICT suppliers, not the taxpayer.
Operating in this environment, and on this scale, inevitably presents challenges that the programme has overcome through innovation. These challenges include the following:
Positively engaging clinicians in the business change necessary to deliver the benefits of the new technology to patients and staff, ensuring that systems deliver their full potential.
The capacity and capability of suppliers within an innovative but tight contracting and performance environment.
The capacity and capability of project and programme management within the NHS.
Delivering such a major system at a time of great structural business change for the NHS, including the creation of independent trusts.
Positively engaging all stakeholders to ensure that all concerns and criticisms are addressed.
The National Programme for IT has been subjected to a great deal of critical scrutiny, including from the National Audit Office; its report on the value for money of the programme noted the substantial progress made, but also commented that successful implementation continues to present significant challenges.
People want healthcare advice available out of hours from home or from their workplace when they can't get to a doctor: this required a real transformation in healthcare delivery. NHS Direct is the first truly multimedia 24-hour health service organisation, giving people health information and advice on the phone, online, through digital TV and through printed self-help guides.
The service grew by 47 per cent in 2005/06, with more than 23 million patient contacts throughout the year. By April 2006, NHS Direct was receiving more than 2 million patient contacts per month, more than double the level of the previous year.
In promoting opportunity for all, the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) is delivering better services to people, businesses and its front-line staff through a huge investment in technology-enabled business change.
Help over 20 million customers to find work, claim benefits and plan for older age
Deliver 13 million benefit payments each week — totalling more than £100 billion each year
Help 4,000 people into jobs every day — including putting 400,000 job vacancies online
Transform delivery to customers so that most pensions claims can be dealt with in one 20-minute telephone call
Manage a larger annual turnover than the national income of the Republic of Ireland
People looking for work now have access to over 400,000 job vacancies through 8,600 wheelchair-friendly 'job points' around the country, via the Jobseeker Direct phone service (which takes over 180,000 calls a week), and online. The website attracts over 1.5 million visits each week and is the biggest of its kind in the UK.
Since May 2005, employers have been able to put their vacancies online 24 hours a day using Employer Direct.
When people need to claim benefits, DWP's Customer Management System now provides staff with on-screen information and guidance: less paper is used, and contact centres can stay open longer for customers. An improvement plan has addressed the teething troubles and the Customer Management System is now delivering reliably. A new system release in November 2006 means that cases no longer have to be rebuilt when inaccurate personal information has been recorded. Looking to the future, Jobcentre Plus is refocusing its resources to ensure delivery of the new Employment and Support Allowance by 2008.
Work to improve the service of the Child Support Agency continues alongside the announcement of the Government's plans for an improved system of child support.
The stability and operational performance of the new computer system have improved, and contracted service levels are now consistently met. An additional £120 million is being invested over three years to improve customer service even further.
The quality of service for 5 million callers to the Disability and Carers Service's helpline has been transformed. Only one per cent of callers now get an engaged tone, compared with 77 per cent just two years ago.
Directgov now joins up government information, and is particularly relevant to people with disabilities: from financial support to the location of designated parking bays and accessible petrol stations, Directgov is the answer.
Since March 2006, the main benefits (including those for disabled people, such as the Carer's Allowance) have been able to be claimed online. This will be extended to other areas by the end of 2007.
The Pensions Transformation Programme, a major initiative to improve customer service by modernising and simplifying the benefit claim process, is transforming benefit delivery for today's elderly.
In one 20-minute telephone call, customers can now apply for both the state pension and Pension Credit, and the information provided can also be used to assess their eligibility for Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit.
DWP's Customer Information System is one of Europe's largest databases, providing a single source of secure, accurate information about 90 million customer records across government. It is now securely accessible to 80,000 members of DWP staff, 60,000 users from seven other government departments, and over 400 local authorities.
The Customer Information System has improved services across government by sharing customer information. For example, the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency can now automatically exempt disabled people from vehicle excise duty, and The Pension Service and local authorities can identify state pension customers who may be able to claim additional benefits. Joining up saves customers time and defeats fraud.
DWP's realigned ICT contracts now provide for higher levels of service and better technology at market-competitive prices. The Department only pays for the services it needs for its business, rather than for surplus capacity. The services are delivered at a lower overall cost to the Department and include a desktop refresh and an upgrade to a high-quality single voice and data network — at no extra cost.
Successfully upgraded the National Insurance Recording System — one of Europe's biggest IT systems
Processed 25 million import/export declarations and collected or secured £22 billion in import duties
HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) is responsible for collecting taxes, paying tax credits and child benefit, and enforcing the UK's frontiers.
In the filing period ending 31 January 2006, nearly 2 million people filed their self-assessment tax returns online — an increase of 38 per cent on the previous year. During the two days before the deadline, 8,700 returns were received each hour. The total number of returns filed by December 2006 was well in excess of the total filed to December 2005, predicting a likely further significant increase for the period ending January 2007.
The system has been improved in response to customer feedback and now remembers personal details securely, pre-fills forms, performs all calculations automatically and makes instant refunds electronically.
The online service also saw 1.1 million employer annual returns and over 40 million end-of-year summaries being filed by businesses — a 13 per cent increase on the previous year. Another increase is certain for 2006/07.
The CD-ROM for employers, developed in response to customer feedback, has an improved training package that makes life easier for employers using online filing for the first time. It includes comprehensive and easy-to-follow instructions and a means of checking calculations. In 2006 the CD-ROM won the Institute of Payroll Professionals Innovation Award — after being put forward not by HMRC but by the people who use it.
Six million families, including 10 million children, depend on tax credits. During 2005/06, £17.3 billion was distributed in child tax credit and working tax credit.
An unprecedented attack by fraudsters caused HMRC to close the online tax credit service in December 2005. Work is continuing to improve the site's security so that online applications can start again as soon as possible.
Importers, exporters and freight forwarders can complete customs formalities online; last year HMRC processed over 25 million customs transactions and collected £22 billion in customs duties.
Work also began to develop the International Trade Single Window, providing online information to anyone importing to, or exporting from, the UK. This is a joint initiative between HMRC, the Department of Trade and Industry's Small Business Service, and the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.
Data is at the heart of HMRC's business, and by addressing the root causes of poor quality data, HMRC is improving both operational efficiency and customer service.
Through initiatives such as the joint work between HMRC and DWP to share basic information such as name and address details, customers don't have to provide the same information so many times, and fewer mistakes are made. The initiative also makes it easier to identify any abuse of tax allowances and benefits.
The National Insurance Recording System provides information relating to 70 million records to over 66,000 users in private industry and government. It processes 1 billion off-line and 300 million online transactions each year, manages over £300 billion, and is one of Europe's largest IT systems.
Maintaining this system is vital to ensuring correct forecasts and payments for the millions of people planning their retirement, in receipt of benefits or in receipt of a pension, and it was successfully upgraded in 2006.
When HMRC was formed in April 2005, it looked to improve efficiency while bringing together over 100,000 staff running corporate services and using a variety of incompatible systems.
The first phase of an enterprise resource planning system delivered new financial and procurement processes and systems in 11 months, on time, to budget and using standard industry software. The second phase, a new human resources system, went live in November 2006.
Last year, 2.6 million people booked their driving test online, with £70 million of fees collected automatically
Each year, the Highways Agency receives 78,000 calls and 13,000 emails to its enquiry service and 45,000 calls to its automated traffic information service
40,000 Highways Agency customers have signed up for automated email traffic alerts
With 39 million drivers, 32 million vehicle keepers and 100,000 commercial vehicle operators the Department for Transport's agencies work on a scale far larger than any private sector transport organisation. Yet investment in technology is allowing them to provide cutting-edge online services that live up to their customers' demands.
Self-service facilities now enable private motorists to go online to apply for a first provisional driving licence, book a driving test, renew their car tax or declare their vehicle off the road. To renew car tax once meant a trip to the Post Office with a pile of documents. Turning it into a five-minute transaction on the internet meant computerising 19,000 MOT garages, a major reworking of government business processes that serve 32 million people, and persuading the insurance industry to provide a central database of insurance details. Computerising MOT garages proved more challenging and took longer to deliver than expected, but the Department for Transport and the supplier worked together to overcome the challenges, and the system was delivered successfully.
For commercial vehicle operators there are a host of internet services, and 60 per cent of all transactions with operators are now carried out online.
Convenient and accessible online services may improve the customer's experience but another important benefit is that convenience increases compliance with the law. This in turn reduces the demands on those who investigate and enforce it and, more importantly, improves road safety.
Technology allows the Driver, Vehicle and Operator group of agencies to share information and opens up access to that information for their front-line staff. Thanks to a hand-held computer, staff from the Vehicle and Operator Services Agency can improve enforcement and road safety by accessing commercial vehicle data at the roadside. They can use the device to check whether the vehicle has passed the required tests or whether there is a warning out against a particular vehicle or operator.
Safety is also the ultimate benefit of the computerisation of around 19,000 MOT garages. The link-up makes MOT testing more consistent and secure, which in turn helps to prevent fraud.
The Highways Agency has increased the use of existing services and the number of ways it provides travel information to its customers. New services include advanced warnings of planned events and more strategic information on roadside variable message signs, and a 24-hour automated 'Traffic England' telephone service and website. Trials of high-tech interactive information points at 24 motorway service areas displaying live traffic information attract over 60,000 people each month. Live traffic information from the Highway Agency's National Traffic Control Centre is also broadcast on several radio stations.
The Department for Transport-funded online journey planning service, Transport Direct, is helping people to plan door-to-door journeys across the whole of Great Britain by any mode of transport. Since its launch in late 2004, the site has been accessed 11 million times a year.
In January 2006 alone, the Police National Computer processed 10 million transactions, helping the police and criminal justice agencies research vehicles, crimes and property.
The Police National Computer is accessible to every force in the UK and is now accessible to police in the field through Airwave hand-held digital radio devices.
Airwave is a digital radio service that enables much clearer, more secure communication than the old analogue system. The Airwave service is being delivered under a 19-year private finance initiative valued at over £3 billion. The migration of police forces from their old systems to Airwave is now in the final stages, with 160,000 active users out of a planned police total of 180,000. The recent adoption of Airwave by the fire and ambulance services will improve radio interoperability between the emergency services.
A national fingerprint identification service provides support to the police service by processing 100,000 records of arrests every month. The system also interfaces with the Immigration and Asylum Fingerprint System in the Immigration and Nationality Directorate, providing both organisations with additional identification capabilities.
National Offender Management Information System will support end-to-end offender management by providing prisons and probation services with a single record of an offender that can be accessed and updated in real time. Introduction of the system into 139 prisons (including privately run establishments) and 42 separate probation areas will take place over two years from its start in December 2006 and will involve the training of over 78,000 staff, the building of a single IT infrastructure and the merging and migration of 200,000 offender records.
Secure email now enables police to respond to a request for details of previous convictions from a probation officer on the same day.
The criminal justice system Exchange XHIBIT Portal provides Crown Court hearing information to Magistrates' Courts, the Witness Service, Victim Support, the police, the National Offender Management Service and the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) in minutes rather than days. The Exchange facility also enables the electronic transfer of case information between police and CPS systems.
The Witness Management System, part of the joint Crown Prosecution Service/police service initiative, No Witness No Justice, enables witness care officers to support the needs of individual victims and witnesses. By the end of August 2006 in excess of half a million cases had been registered on the system.
In response to the establishment of the Serious and Organised Crime Agency in April 2006, infrastructure was set up to enable CPS's organised crime division to exchange confidential information with it.
IMPACT Programme is improving the ability of the police service to manage and share operational information to prevent and detect crime and make our communities safer. The programme has already delivered the IMPACT Nominal Index, which enables forces to see which other forces may hold information on particular individuals of interest to them.
Information technology has transformed crime-fighting by helping to deny criminals the use of the road. The Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) National Automatic Number Plate Recognition system processes 5 million readings daily, and will build to 50 million daily in 2007 to make it one of the biggest web services in Europe. For every £1,000 spent on the system there are 2.02 arrests, 8.18 fixed penalty notices and 2.46 vehicle seizures.
The Joint Border Operations Centre, which opened in 2005, runs an e-borders system to match information in travel documents with data from the Immigration and Nationality Directorate, HM Revenue and Customs, the police, the Identity and Passport Service and UKvisas.
The Joint Borders Operation Centre analyses 12 million airline passenger movements on 36 routes and 17 carriers. The number of checks is expected to grow to 30 million by March 2008.
UKvisas is rolling out a system to support fingerprint checking for UK visa applicants worldwide.
In March 2006, the Identity and Passport Service launched the biometric passport to counter fraud, and in July 2006 issued the millionth biometric passport.
New information systems are making UK armed forces more effective, better run and more efficient. Underpinning these systems is the Defence Information Infrastructure, which was rolled out in September 2006. The infrastructure will deliver a secure, joined-up computer system for 300,000 users on 150,000 terminals at nearly 2,000 Ministry of Defence sites around the world — including the front line. The system will be fully rolled out before the end of 2009.
Logistics are essential to modern warfare; the job of maintaining and supporting equipment all over the world is managed by the Defence Logistics Organisation (DLO).
Over the last five years, DLO has improved the way its business is carried out through the Defence Logistics Transformation Programme, much of which has been enabled by new technology systems. The Joint Asset Management and Engineering Solution has changed the way the Army manages its vehicle fleet. It has already enabled more efficient vehicle use and a reduction in fleet numbers to deliver benefits in the region of £30 million. It is used by more than 3,000 people to manage 23,000 equipment types.
Using the Defence Information Infrastructure, the People Programme enables civilian staff to book training and leave, and apply for jobs online. Further work will improve the way civilian staff are paid — a service that the Ministry of Defence also delivers to several other government organisations.
joint personnel administration programme harmonises a range of Royal Navy, Army and Royal Air Force policies and regulations, and provides a single, modern administration system that personnel can access wherever they are in the world. The programme went live with the Royal Air Force in March 2006 and will roll out to the other two services by the end of 2007, eventually serving almost 300,000 regular and reserve personnel.
Every year, the Ministry of Defence handles nearly 400,000 contracts. Expansion of the Defence Electronic Commerce Service (DECS) will enable more of the demand for commodity items to be managed electronically. It also hosts the stock management system for the bulk fuels inventory, which processes over 750 million litres of fuel each year.
The benefits of DECS have also been extended to other government organisations. A collaboration programme enables the Ministry of Defence, other government departments and industry to interact in a secure and trusted environment.
Britain's diplomats all over the world need the right information at the right time, in the right place, and often in a hostile security environment. Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) has one of the largest and most geographically dispersed IT networks in the world, linking 16,000 users in 240 posts across 144 countries. This global network offers fast, secure and reliable services to staff and customers at home and overseas.
British citizens need up-to-the minute advice about precautions to take when travelling. To get this information, 3 million citizens across the world access FCO websites in the UK and embassy websites overseas up to 12 million times each month, mostly for travel advisory and visa services. The Department also sends 1.5 million emails every year, alerting subscribers of any changes to travel advice.
In the future, integrated systems will be an important part of the FCO's service to British and foreign citizens overseas. Work is underway to securely link the FCO's information systems with those in other government departments, particularly the Home Office, Cabinet Office, Department for International Development and the Ministry of Defence.
New technology is already transforming the way people use local government services. And that same technology is expected to bring efficiency gains of over £1.1 billion by 2007/08.
New technology is already transforming the way people use and access local government services. That same technology is expected to bring efficiency gains of over £1.1 billion by 2007/08. Many local authorities have already risen to the challenges laid out in the Transformational Government strategy and are delivering significant performance improvements and cost savings. New targets are being set for what transformed local government, supported by technology, should look like.
Commitments for transforming local services are set out in Chapter 7 of the local government White Paper Strong and Prosperous Communities. Those commitments are designed to take forward work in the following areas:
A 'business improvement package' for local public services is planned to be published in early 2007, setting out a coherent package of improvement tools covering business process improvement techniques, technology and collaboration.
Under the guidance of the National Process Improvement Project, a package of support is also being developed to examine and redesign end-to-end business processes, targeting service improvement and increased efficiency. In addition, work has been initiated with the Local Government Association to create a vision for joined-up access to front-line services, across services within councils, between councils and with other agencies. This will support best practice that is already underway.
The transformational local government agenda is also reflected in three ongoing national projects building on the work of the local e-government programme.
The first of these projects is Government Connect: the aim is that by sharing customer information between local and central government securely, services can be tailored to suit an individual citizen's needs. For example, a customer can seamlessly access council and central government services at the same time. A citizen wanting to claim benefits currently often needs to contact their local authority housing benefits department, Jobcentre Plus, Citizens' Advice Bureau and Registered Social Landlord. By using Government Connect to help join up these agencies, the citizen should receive improved accuracy in their claims processing and quicker service delivery.
The second project is Local Directgov, which provides citizens with easy and direct links between the Directgov website and all the services that their local authority provides online.
The third project is the 'Connect to your council' Take-Up Campaign, which is designed to raise citizen awareness of the range of local authority services now available online, and to encourage people to use them.
There are a wealth of innovative and successful IT initiatives across local government that are often overlooked. There are too many to list in full here, but there follow a few contrasting examples:
Hampshire County Council has developed OT Direct, an improved system for handling requests from citizens, social services and healthcare professionals for help from occupational therapy services in Hampshire. By transforming access mechanisms and business processes, waiting lists for services have been reduced from months to weeks — with direct benefits for Hampshire citizens. Significant increases in service demands have also been met without increasing the demand for full occupational therapy assessments.
Hammersmith & Fulham Council developed a customer-focused segmentation model to understand how people like to interact with the Council. It is now planning a major restructuring programme to bring service delivery and means of communication more in line with customer preference and need.
Birmingham City Council is achieving huge efficiency gains by transforming its corporate business processes. By investing £100 million in transforming its infrastructure, processes and culture, the Council will save £600 million over the next 10 years.
The Liverpool Direct council contact centre is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The centre currently handles around 50,000 calls per week, and in 90 per cent of cases the call is resolved the first time, without the caller having to be put through to another team. There are plans to extend the centre to deal with 80 per cent of council services.
At Tameside Council, the internet has become the primary means for accessing council services. The council has succeeded in managing its business more efficiently by moving people to cheaper delivery channels, while providing the same or better service, during a period when the total number of customer contacts has risen.
It is crucial to ensure that the most vulnerable people have the capability to use transformational local government services. Communities and Local Government is supporting initiatives that focus on identifying and delivering local services to excluded people using new technologies.
digital challenge competition will fund a world-leading example of a digital community, focusing on benefiting those at risk of social exclusion.
The digital challenge inclusion network will create dialogue across sectors (public, private, voluntary and academic) in order to see how ICT can better address digital and social exclusion issues.
A digital inclusion team has been established, with the key objectives of focusing support and development on the use of technology to ensure better delivery to the most excluded.
People who live in remote rural areas and who don't have a computer at home are not being left out either. For example, in the East Riding of Yorkshire, the CitizenLink initiative allows people in rural areas to access information remotely through video-conferencing. In North Cornwall, local volunteer trainers are helping people to make free use of computers and internet connections in places like village halls. Local residents have an opportunity to see how easy it is to access local council, county council and central government services online in a safe environment, with skilled support.
Up to now, people with restricted mobility have had to make trips to the council to sort out benefits queries or home care support, or get others to make these visits on their behalf. This is difficult and can lead to delays in receiving payments and other entitlements. In Leeds, people can be visited in their own homes by a social care worker who can record their details with digitally-enabled pen and paper technology, and transfer it straight into a council computer, speeding up the processing of their entitlements. In Halton, the 'Benefits Express' bus is a high-tech, mobile doorstep service dealing with benefits claims; it helps to greatly reduce the time it takes for thousands of people in the borough to get through their entitlement reviews.
More remains to be done to exploit the potential of technology to help vulnerable or excluded groups, either through the services that support them directly or by accessing services electronically which are designed to meet their needs.g
There are several challenges ahead if we are to see the kind of innovation described above being taken up more generally by local authorities as part of a coherent business improvement strategy.
There needs to be further work to determine what needs to be done to ensure that the models mentioned here and many other working examples can be disseminated in such a way that they can readily be taken up and implemented by other local authorities as appropriate.
In the early stages of any innovation, the innovation itself and the publicity it generates are often enough to engage with the natural 'early adopters'. As the innovation is further developed and mainstreamed, a robust and transparent business case and benefits analysis needs to be developed if the particular initiative is to be taken up by organisations in any great numbers.
Achieving widespread citizen acceptance and take-up of services via new channels presents an urgent and important challenge if we are to realise the benefits from these new and innovative ways of working. In order to do this, we need to improve our understanding of customer preferences, as well as their needs.