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Service transformation: A better service for citizens and businesses, a better deal for the taxpayer

Comment: I think that states the right priorities in the right order. We also need to restore a foundation of trust, but adding that would make for a lengthy title :-) Reply?.
Published with the permission of HM Treasury on behalf of the Controller of Her Majesty's Stationery Office. The text in this document (excluding the Royal Coat of 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.

Foreword by Sir David Varney

Our economy is dominated by the service sector, which has undergone considerable change over the past decade. Technology has enabled a revolution in the way service providers interact with their customers. These changes are continuing as citizens and businesses seek better value for money and greater convenience.
Comment: It's a good starting point. Economic reality makes us look outward, and the tragic flaw of Whithall reform papers is introspection and a lack of empathy. Reply?.
There have been significant improvements to public service delivery over recent years. The Government's programme of investment and reform has delivered real improvements in the way that services are delivered, many of which are highlighted in this report. However, social, demographic and technological changes continue apace and there are increasing challenges to keep up with the best in the private sector. Differences between the public and private sector are likely to grow over the next decade unless public sector service delivery is further transformed.
The Government historically delivers services through departments. The department might deliver the service directly, through agents or agencies, alone or in cooperation with local government. Each solution is a child of its time and circumstances, with little over-arching view of the Government's relationship with the citizen. Thus, I have found that departments which provide services focus predominantly not on the citizen, but on an aspect of the citizen called `the customer'. This allows the department to focus on the delivery of their service -- a transactional relationship.
Comment: Sir David identifies "customer" as a subset of "citizen". Let's run with that, even if we've taken the view at Ideal Gov that they are separate not subsidiary (and that there's more to it than just these ... Reply?.
Comment: I thought this was a very interesting distinction to make because the term "customer focus" has become a bit of a test of loyalty for those protesting a modernising commitment! I think the re-assertion ... Reply?.
Comment: I think the "child of its time" point is very interesting, because intitutions are the way in which we crystallise a way of thinking that "made sense at the time" and turn it into something that has a ... Reply?.
Comment: Geoff, the balance implied by of one of your sentences is absolutely intriguing. you say "I also want to take an holistic view of the role of the state as the thing with which I make a contract...".
The end result is that the citizen who needs multiple services is left to join up the various islands of service to meet his or her needs. As departments do not appear to accept each other's identification of the citizen, the citizen has to validate his or her identity at each service transaction. This model of service provision is underpinned by a mass of helplines, call centres, front-line offices and websites. A similar situation applies to interactions with business resulting in business being required to provide the same information to many parts of government.
Comment: I very much agree with this as a statement of reality, but it does highlight an issue for me which is: - do we want a state that gives us a menu or one which plans our meals for us?

I guess ...
Comment: Geoff's question is key. Some need meals on wheels, some are happy to do supermarkets with loyalty cards and all, but the growth is in farmers markets where we trust the quality.

We cant answer ...
The leading edge of the new service economy that has emerged is much slicker, more immediate, more convenient to the citizen and less intrusive on the busy citizen's time. The focus is increasingly on the totality of the relationship with the citizen.
Comment: Yes, and it's deliberately DESIGNED by service designers, a noble profession and great British success story who have yet to be invited into most areas of public services. Reply?.
Today there are excellent examples in the public sector of entities cooperating to give citizens and businesses a better service. These need support and encouragement and we need to grow and emulate their achievements across the whole of the public service sector. The existence of these programmes is encouraging, but a much more fundamental and widespread change is necessary if the public sector service economy is to match the performance of the best service providers. My report lays out the steps we can take in the 2007 Comprehensive Spending Review to lift substantially our service performance in interacting with citizens and businesses.
Comment: Suffolk CSD Liverpool Pension Service who else (there are several at least) What's up in Tameside? Reply?.
We need to continue to follow international developments and learn from other countries' experiences of creating a more responsive and integrated public service. However, the experience in the private sector indicates that organisations when faced with the choice between incremental improvement of today's business model and tomorrow's -- frequently choose today's. This reflects the ability of today's business operator to demonstrate how more resources can deliver a better result. Tomorrow's business model adherents often struggle to provide such clear evidence. Yet business history demonstrates the demise of many organisations whose adherence to today's model meant they lost touch with their customer base. If the public service is not transformed then we can anticipate much less effective and more expensive delivery and more citizens put off by the indifference to their needs. We need to remind ourselves that it is often the most vulnerable parts of society that are most put off by this.
Comment: This is as clearly as we've ever seen the choice and the risk spelt out IMHO. Reply?.
Comment: I agree with William's comment! It's the "cri de coeur" from anyone who's ever tried to introduce some really radical thinking in the face of the "incrementalist tendency" coupled with the risk aversion ... Reply?.
My hope is that the UK's public service will respond to this report and create a world-class public service economy. Other governments faced with the issues described above have decided to impose structural change to deliver better public services, such as building new departments for citizen and business facing services. Although I do not favour this approach at present in the UK, I recommend that progress in other countries is kept under review and used to test the progress of our transformation. If we show signs of lagging behind then these structural change alternatives need reconsideration.
Comment: This is the "or else" bit! Can the existing structure be adapted throught the overlaying of customer-focused cross-cutting arrangements (the Councils) or will it prove necessary to do the more radical ... Reply?.
Comment: We always react by changing the structure (latest iteration: let's split the Home Office). How do we change the culture? Reply?.
This report was compiled with considerable assistance from individual public servants in both central and local government. I was additionally assisted by a consultative committee of individuals who all provided advice. I am indebted to them all and to the small team in HM Treasury.
Sir David Varney

Executive summary

In the 2006 Budget the Chancellor asked for advice on the opportunities for transforming the delivery of public services by looking at how the channels through which services are delivered can be made more responsive to the needs of citizens and businesses.
Comment: Only a government insider could explain why it is that HM Treasury doing the Cabinet Office's job is more authoritative and has to be taken more seriously than the Cabinet Office doing its own job. It ... Reply?.
Since 1997, the Government has undertaken a comprehensive programme of public service reform. This has focused on tackling under-investment in key public services and aimed to bring public services in the UK up to the best level available internationally. The reform programme has been designed to raise standards of service, reduce inequalities and increase responsiveness to users and is supported by many innovative projects across central and local government.
Much has been achieved in the past decade. Compared to 1997, the government is now providing more services online or through comprehensive telephone contact centres -- allowing citizens and businesses improved ways to access government. Access to NHS Direct Online has grown by 74 per cent comparing this year to the last. In transport, citizens can now apply via the Internet for provisional driving licences and vehicle registration at any time. By the end of September 2006, 3.7 million motorists had renewed their car tax online.
However, the world is changing rapidly, with new challenges emerging that must be addressed. Citizens and businesses increasingly see their time as a limited resource. They rightly demand that their interactions with public services deliver value and that problems are resolved first time. Despite the considerable strides and innovations that have been made, there is more to do to ensure the delivery of public services keeps pace with the best of private sector service delivery, particularly in the use of technology and 24-hour, seven days a week services. New technology offers the potential to facilitate collaborative working. The Transformational Government strategy has set the scene for transformation of contact with citizens and businesses, including increasing the focus on the user of public services and making the most of technological advances.
Comment: Only a government insider could convey to me the sense of "but that was the Cabinet Office and they always make pronouncements of which people take little notice. We're the Treasury and we're serious." Reply?.
This report focuses on the opportunities for change in the channels through which services are delivered to citizens and businesses. Over the next ten years, there is an opportunity to provide better public services for citizens and businesses and to do so at a lower cost to the taxpayer. Realising these outcomes will require citizen and business focused transformation that should see citizens having single points of contact with government to meet a range of their needs and businesses having to provide information only once to government. In addition, providing joined- up services designed around the needs of the citizen or business will yield efficiency savings by reducing duplication across the public sector. This ought to be the public service aspiration for Government.
This review builds on the reports published by Sir Peter Gershon and Sir Michael Lyons in 2004, which address efficiency within public services. The focus of these earlier reports was benchmarking performance across departments and joining up back office functions. The focus of this review is how to save government, citizen and business time and money by examining the scope for integrating front-line service delivery.
The history of public services has led to departments or agencies focusing on the supply of specific products rather than taking a citizen or business-led approach. Departments' and agencies' services are all developed independently of each other. It is leaving the citizen or business to join up the public service island economy to meet their needs. For example, this review found a typical case in which a citizen needed to contact government 44 times following a bereavement.
Comment: We can't change the history and the question now is how we change the culture. Recognising the scale of the problem, as Varney does, is surely the first step. Reply?.
Comment: Also, I'm fed up with the "drawing b numbers" rhetoric of "joining up". It was a good phrase when Perri 6 first used it in this context, not long past the stage where it's a cliche that prevents improving ... Reply?.
It is often the most vulnerable citizens who have to do the most joining-up between the public service islands and much of it could be avoided with more collaborative service delivery. The situation is similar for businesses, often needing to provide the same information more than once. This is the primary reason the Government is planning to set out in law the `Hampton Code of Practice' as published in draft at Budget 2006.
Service transformation is not about further increases in public spending or investing in new technology. Building on the work done in the 2004 Spending Review on efficiency, there is an opportunity to coordinate services more directly around the needs of citizens and businesses and to deal with more problems at the first point of contact. In the 2007 Comprehensive Spending Review (CSR) this approach could drive out efficiencies by improved performance and coordination of front-line e-services, contact centres and local offices and reducing duplication of business processes through shared use of an identity management system. Over the longer term further efficiencies and service enhancements could be made by reducing the back office functions that would no longer be required.
Chapter 1 of the report sets out more information about the case for change and the potential for savings to government, citizens and businesses.
Fully transforming the channels for public service delivery is beyond the timeframe of the 2007 CSR. It will require a radical improvement in the level of collaborative delivery across the public sector. Chapter 2 of the report sets out a long-term vision for service transformation over the next ten years, including what steps can be taken more immediately.
Building on the achievements of the past decade, the review's analysis points to the key changes that are required across government channels to focus on citizen and business needs:
  • grouping service delivery around common service `themes' that are meaningful for citizens and businesses, starting with change of circumstances associated with bereavement, birth and change of address (Chapter 2);
Comment: This was the key insight of the Central IT Unit in 1997 or 98 or whenever (help me people). Reply?.
Comment: Can't help you on the date William, but the thought this prompts for me is that this change in approach is analogous to the old marketing principle that you should sell the "benefits" not the "features". ... Reply?.
  • engaging citizens and businesses more fully in the design and delivery of public services, establishing principles that underpin a coordinated multi-channel approach to government delivery and a move to making e-services the primary channel for information and transactional services (Chapter 3);
Comment: Hurrah! And this was the key insight for which I give credit to Matthew Horne and the Design Council's RED team work in 2004 or so. They called it c-creation. Cisco in its Connected Republic work and elsewhere ... Reply?.
  • establishing a robust and transparent performance management and governance framework, coupled with fostering innovations in citizen and business focused working between departments, agencies and other providers (Chapter 4);
Comment: I don't think that the term "productivity" appears in the document despite some quite detailed comparisons of such things as absence rates etc. I think a key issue on performance management has to be a ... Reply?.
Comment: I think this should be independent of government. Reply?.
Comment: Ah yes. The active banana.

I far prefer the "customer-focussed" aproach of Ed Mayo and the NCC. Build organisations that serve the customer and do nothing else.

That's far more efficient ...
  • seizing opportunities to secure significant improvements in the capacity and capability for government to share identity management systems and to make better collective use of the government information asset to improve public service delivery (Chapter 5); and
Comment: We agree with words like "improvement" and "better". In an ideal world we'll also agree what IS better and what constitutes an improvement. Hint: it may not necessarily be compulsory, involve biometrics, ... Reply?.
Comment: Response to hint!: Without biometrics, identity management, which Varney rightly puts centre-stage, can only be a matter of corroborating the provenance and authenticity of bits of paper and electronic ... Reply?.
  • further improving and coordinating the operation of government e-services, contact centres and face-to-face services, raising the overall transparency and performance of government operations, including establishing benchmarks and standards and setting targets for service. Chapters 6 to 8 look at each of the channels through which government delivers services and identify opportunities for improvement.
Chapter 9 of the report identifies the key next steps to be taken to deliver a service transformation programme.
To lay the groundwork, a number of actions are required for the 2007 CSR, including:
  • develop a change of circumstances service starting with bereavement, birth and change of address by 2010, initiated as a feasibility study, to drive citizen and business focused cross-government working;
Comment: We're wholly forgiving of the fact change of address was promised for 2005, never appeared and no-one batted an eyelid. There was more to it than met the eye. We still need it (subject to the "foundation ... Reply?.
Comment: We're wholly forgiving of the fact change of address was promised for 2005, never appeared and no-one batted an eyelid. There was more to it than met the eye. We still need it (subject to the "foundation ... Reply?.
  • improve Directgov and so they become the primary information and transactional channels for citizens and businesses, reducing the number of departmental specific websites, providing the Secretary of State for the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and the Paymaster General respectively with responsibility for the services;
Comment: This I dont get. Why we dont just let Directgov wither and give Sam Smith and Chris Lightfoot medals and civil service pensions and let everyone use DirectionlessGov (bunging a bob or too Google's way ... Reply?.
Comment: Further thought. It's fine for us to "improve Direct Gov so much that everyone wants to use it and everything else withers away". But to make everyone use DirectGov by closing everything else makes as ... Reply?.
  • improve public sector contact centre performance by establishing performance targets and best practice benchmarks, reducing operating costs by 25 per cent;
  • take forward proposals to develop a cross-government identity management system to enable greater personalisation of services and to reduce duplication across government, building on a proof of concept project to share data between HM Revenue and Customs, DWP and 12 local authorities;
Comment: Hmmmmmmmm. Why not just give this job to the "gold-standard" IPS which has such a fabulous customer satisfaction rating and is spending £5.8bn (according to confused and ill-informed Home Office ministers) ... Reply?.
Comment: Recommending a cross-government identity management system is easy. All you need do is look at page 8 of the IPS Strategic Action Plan for the National Identity Scheme. It is a single horizontal double ... Reply?.
Comment: As I understand it James Hall's job title actually includes responsibility for Identity Management across Govt, so the brief does rest with IPS.

On the issue of principle, how can one object ...
Comment: I'm a bit concerned about what "personalisation" means until we define it better.

At one extreme it sounds like mechannical targetting and brings to mind YouTube videos of pilots using laserguided ...
  • establish new citizen and business contact roles and functions within departments to drive increased skills and capability to respond to citizen and business needs and to increasingly coordinate service delivery from a whole of government perspective;
Comment: Hurrah. Yes. If you majke a rule that these people must have direct customer experience (being one, or dealing with them) you'll find the skills come from the front line in DWP or from NGOs and local government ... Reply?.
  • develop better coordinated and focused face-to-face services, through a cross-government estate strategy, underpinned with departmental plans for increased third sector delivery of these services and more mobile working; and
  • establish service transformation as a top priority outcome for government, underpinned by a detailed delivery plan and quantitative performance indicators which form the basis of a published annual report on service transformation.
Comment: As I see it, and applaud it, this is the call to action for the Brown regime! It links the efficency AND the effectiveness agendas as they should be! Reply?.
A full list of recommendations is at Annex A. Note: We only include here the foreword and introduction and then jump to section "9: The Next Steps". The cut sections are available in the original document.
Comment: That's a fair cop Sam. It's your weekend, after all. But there's a lot of good stuff in the main report, esp more detailed stuff on savings, culture, incentives, ID management, governance. The intro ... Reply?.


Achieving the service transformation programme in full will require a fundamental shift in the way government goes about its business. But the scale of the work should not deter us. Provided a cross-government framework is put in place now and some innovative services are set in train to act as a stimulus for further transformation, the benefits will start to flow. Detailed delivery planning with departments and local authorities on service transformation is still required, in line with the development of 2007 Comprehensive Spending Review (CSR) delivery plans and the associated performance management framework. The key steps that should be taken and the potential outcomes that could be achieved are set out below.
Comment: OK, so DV says change needs - a framework (what does that comprise) and - some innovative services to act as stimulus (ie the change of circs) - detailed planning Reply?.

By April 2008

Within the next eighteen months, the cross-government framework for delivering service transformation should be put in place and the full delivery plan for the programme should be agreed. Some transformation pilots could be working and delivering real benefits. By April 2008, key outcomes include:
  • service transformation has been established as a cross-government priority and the underpinning delivery plan has been agreed across delivery agencies based on what those agencies will do and what citizens and businesses will experience. The plan has been signed off at Cabinet Committee level. Seedcorn funding to support innovative pilots has been allocated;
  • new cross-government official-level leadership is in place, under the overall leadership of the Cabinet Secretary. This is supported by the Delivery Council and the establishment of a new Citizen and Business Contact Council with representatives of Citizen and Business Contact Directors from central and local government;
  • the contribution that each department and agency will make to service transformation is embedded in departmental 2007 CSR delivery plans and in the local government performance management framework;
  • results of early pilots are available and being shared across public services and are used as input into future decisions;
  • Government has agreed a cross-government identity management strategy. Lessons learnt from the pilot between HM Revenue and Customs, the Department for Work and Pensions and 12 local authorities have been acted on in the development of governance and standards and the project has been further rolled out and is being tested in other parts of the public sector;
Comment: How this is done is key to the foundation of trust in e-government. This clear statement envisages a separate path from the Home Office IPS route. That's a good start. I think (fingers crossed) that David ... Reply?.
Comment: The use of the past tense is curious. I thought this was all work in progress. IPS have produced the “Strategic Action Plan for the National Identity Scheme”. The CTO has produced the first release ... Reply?.
Comment: I agree - past tense is odd. I thought the pilot was proposed here. Reply?.
  • a set of cross-government benchmarks to drive improved performance in contact centres and face-to-face services, together with proposals for radical improvement to helpline services, are agreed;
  • a cross-government estates management strategy has been established and agreed;
Comment: And it needs to be a lot better than the MoD performance on shoddy housing for squaddies' families and five-star refurbishment of their listed headquarters building. That feels a bit Enron. Reply?.
  • departments have prepared plans for mobile working and use of mobile technologies;
  • new governance and funding arrangements for Directgov and are in place and reform plans are incorporated in the service transformation plan;
  • the Cabinet Secretary publishes his first annual report on progress against the service transformation plan; and
  • central departments publish clear business plans that involve the integration of intermediaries in end-to-end service delivery.
Comment: This will require some culturally challenging reaching out to intermediaries who have not always been well treated in the past. Reply?.

By early 2011

The results of early transformational change are evident to citizens and businesses. A core of departments are demonstrating how to provide citizen and business focused services. Key outcomes include:
  • a change of circumstances service is operating, including for bereavement, birth and change of address;
  • funded pilots from the 2007 CSR conclude and decisions have been made about rollout;
  • all of government has adopted a common approach to identity management which also supports the use of identity cards;
Comment: ...if it must. Must it? Do they have to be compulsory? Don't tell Joanna Lumley. Reply?.
Comment: it says "supports the use of identity cards". Is this in the same way that London Transport must support Oyster; but that doesn't mean that everyone must use Oyster.. Reply?.
  • nearly all citizen and business facing content and transactions will by now be surfaced through Directgov and, with consequent rationalisation of departmental websites and all government e-transactions are undertaken directly from the Directgov and websites;
  • savings of up to 400 million are made from a reduction in the number of government websites, use of the e-channel and use of shared Web-service infrastructure;
  • accreditation of all contact centres is achieved and results are published;
  • contact centre performance is measured against agreed benchmarks. The cost of
  • operating contact centres is reduced by 25 per cent. The percentage of problems dealt with at first point of contact is significantly increased;
  • one number is used for all non-emergency public service enquiries and citizens receive an improved helpline service;
  • the cost of government estates management has reduced by at least 300 million each year through the use of shared offices and innovative use of mobile technology and mobile services has spread;
  • progress on the programme is published annually.

Beyond 2012

The structure, processes and governance to support service transformation are fully bedded in, with greater consistency and personalisation across a wide range of public services. Key outcomes include:
  • the public and private sectors are converging on a common identity management regime that puts the UK at the leading edge of international practice and commands high levels of public confidence about good service, security and privacy;
  • one-stop e-services, contact centres and face-to-face services, including through mobile services, are developed for a full range of life events and other key citizen and business needs;
  • users are regularly engaged in the design and delivery of public services;
  • information coming from contact is being used to continually enhance the services on offer;
  • Directgov and are recognised as the primary e-channels for citizens and businesses and offer a high quality service on par with the best of the private sector;
  • citizens and businesses feel confident in using the full range of government channels and will use e-channels as their first point of contact to resolve queries in the most convenient and rapid way;
  • public service workers feel confident in their contact with citizens and businesses and their ability to deal with a majority of issues and requests on first contact and that the necessary more technical and specialist services are on offer; and
  • efficiency improvements from back office rationalisation and redesign enables resources are released for further front-line service improvement.


I recommend:

On the `blueprint for change':

1. setting up in the period covered by the 2007 Comprehensive Spending Review (CSR) a service that will allow citizens to inform government once of their change in circumstances; initially this should cover bereavement, birth and change of address;

On `what citizens and businesses need':

2. the Customer Insight Forum continues and further promotes its important activities -- but that its focus is to be more clearly about the citizen and business perspective (and is renamed as the Citizen and Business Insight Forum);
Comment: Is anyone aware of the outputs of this Forum? What are its Insights? Reply?.
3. every department be required to appoint a Contact Director to carry overall responsibility within that organisation for creating and exploiting insight as a strategic asset;
4. the Government approve principles for government channel management and apply them rigorously and consistently across all departments and agencies;

On `levers for change':

5. establishing and taking forward a service transformation programme with an associated published delivery plan as one of the Government's top priority outcomes for the 2007 CSR period;
6. there is regular monitoring of progress on the service transformation programme and that there is a much greater use of benchmarks to judge how departments are performing;
7. performance against the delivery plan is made public, on at least an annual basis, so that citizens and businesses can judge how public services are changing;
8. overall responsibility for the service transformation programme is led by a Cabinet Committee, chaired by a Cabinet Minister, with representation from key departments involved in the programme;
9. specific Cabinet Ministers be given responsibility for particular cross-government areas of transformation;
10. establishing the capability for a change of circumstances service should be led by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), working closely with HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC), the Department for Communities and Local Government and the Home Office;
11. service transformation should be led by the Cabinet Secretary, supported by the Permanent Secretaries Steering Group and a secretariat provided by the Cabinet Office Delivery and Transformation Group;
12. each department should be asked to appoint a professional head of contact (a Contact Director). These Directors should be invited to sit on a cross-departmental council -- the Citizen and Business Contact Council;
13. the Chief Information Officer Council develop technology delivery plans that standardise contact systems and supporting facilities and infrastructures;
14. Government provides support for service transformation pilots as part of the 2007 CSR, for example through the provision of start-up or match funding;
15. to firmly bed in changes that arise from pilots and to ensure ongoing investment is available for expansion of initiatives, Government should require departments to develop plans for service transformation as part of their 2007 CSR delivery plans;

On `information management':

16. the data sharing strategy to be developed by the Ministerial Committee MISC 31 should address impediments to sharing identity information and how these should be resolved to enable improvements in service delivery;
Comment: Hmmmm. Do "impediments" include the risk of loss of trust? Shouldnt we rather insist that data sharing does not proceed unless it's based on a foundation of trust, ie maximal anonymity at all times, privacy-enhancing ... Reply?.
Comment: Without accurate identity management, which must include citizen consent, data sharing will not be efficient and could add an administrative burden that outweighs any benefits. Reply?.
17. Government should extend experience from the proof of concept project between DWP, HMRC and 12 Local Authorities to test the concept in other parts of the public sector in 200708;
Comment: It would be interesting to know what the expectations are from the "proof of concept". In three months, will it to be a collection of opinions or some software that demonstrates the ease information sharing ... Reply?.
18. the Government's Chief Information Officer Council complete their work on aligning the use of government strategic assets, such as the Government Gateway, Government Connect and other key systems;
Comment: No harm in doing that. The question is what is the overlying framework in which these components fit. There seems to be duplication of function. Just because a lot of money has been spent, it is not ... Reply?.

On `e-services':

19. Directgov and funding be put on a more secure basis within the 2007 CSR to develop them as fully transformed services;
20. in the 2007 CSR, the Government investigates a funding arrangement for Directgov and that puts these services on a stable financial footing, incentivises departments to contribute to services that secure cross-government benefit and allows for the expansion of functionality of these services;
21. sponsorship and leadership rests with the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions for Directgov and the Paymaster General for;
Comment: How much wisdom is there in putting a single department in charge of a site which is designed to cover many departments. The inherent bias that comes from being in a single department with a specific ... Reply?.
22. government establish a clear performance indicator for citizen and business facing website rationalisation, which focuses on establishing firm targets to reduce progressively the number of websites over a three year period. In particular rationalisation targets should include:
  • a freeze on the development of new websites providing citizen or business e-services created by departments, agencies and non departmental public bodies, unless authorised by the Ministerial Committee on Public Services and Public Expenditure Sub Committee on Electronic Service Delivery -- PSX(E); and
  • by 2011, almost all citizen and business e-services migrate to Directgov and and all e-transactions are provided through these two primary websites. This means that all departments will have one corporate website, utilising shared infrastructure and all other sites will be closed;

On `contact centres':

23. all taxpayer funded contact centres are required to undergo formal published accreditation by December 2008;
24. the Citizen and Business Contact Council be tasked with approving a standard blueprint for public sector contact centres;
25. public service contact centres should secure 25 per cent improvements to current operations during the 2007 CSR period, while also raising the quality of services provided to citizens and businesses;
26. the establishment of performance indicators and targets for contact centre operation based around the objective of at least 25 per cent reduction in costs by the end of the 2007 CSR, which could include:
  • 80 percent of contacts made by citizens or businesses to be resolved on first contact;
  • 50 per cent reduction in avoidable contact;
  • reducing the number of information requests handled by telephone by 50 per cent;
  • making the Web the primary access point for all simple information and advice requests;
  • converging all public sector telephony charges to a single tariff; and
  • requiring all sub-200 seat contact centres to share their service with others;
  • 27. the establishment of best practice performance indicators and benchmarks to assist contact centres to perform to the level of best peer performance in the public sector;
    28. the public sector should explore the scope for a single access number nationwide for all non- emergency public services, to provide a complementary support for 999;
    29. improving immediate access to public service departments and agencies and then to rationalise telephone numbers by:
    • coordinating the implementation of a public sector wide number strategy utilising the new 0300 number range, to simplify access and tariffs for citizens and businesses to all departments and local authorities;
    • publishing standard form descriptions of each department's services on Directgov/ (as appropriate); and
    • publishing a government phonebook of public sector access numbers and targeting a reduction of 80 per cent of published telephone numbers and better signposting of the remaining numbers;
    30. public service contact centres seek to better coordinate services around common citizen and business themes, starting with a single contact service for change of circumstances;
    31. Government explore the scope for providing more coordinated helpline services;

    On `face-to-face' services':

    32. Government continues to improve the level and quality of data it collects on its asset base through implementation by the Office of Government Commerce (OGC) of their High Performing Property Route Map;
    Comment: What is this? Reply?.
    Comment: Reply?.
    33. the service transformation programme delivery plan should include the use of benchmarking information about the usage, cost and outputs achieved from departmental face-to-face service provision;
    34. the proposals for improved collection of data be used to inform when it is appropriate to use face-to-face provision and when channel shift should be encouraged, in line with the proposed channel management principles;
    35. the establishment of more cross-government onestop-shop services. These should develop into locations where the whole of a `theme' can be transacted, covering both central and local government, starting with the change of circumstances service;
    36. government continues to encourage the development of joined-up services across local authorities, in line with proposals in the recent Local Government White Paper;
    37. the implementation of a cross-government estate management strategy, through the active adoption of the OGC's High Performing Property Route Map. This now needs to be implemented within the overarching service transformation delivery plan so that departments can be assessed on how they are using their face-to-face estate;
    38. central and local government bodies plan to increase the proportion of effective mobile services and that this is included within the service transformation delivery plan with progress reported annually; and
    39. central and local government work together to facilitate and increase substantially the use of third sector intermediaries in improving public services.
    Comment: We keep saying this (it has been a good decade now). But government isn't serious about it, and there;s the risk that if it got serious about it it would undermione the independence and motivation of ... Reply?.

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