Business Transformation – first five years

By on 22/02/2011 in News

Although only just five-years-old, Birmingham City Council's ambitious Business Transformation scheme has given the authority and its citizens much to celebrate.

Launched in 2006 and supported by Service Birmingham - a joint venture between the council and Capita - the scheme is firmly on course to realise £1billion of savings over ten years.

At the half way point, £244.2million has already been banked, with £93.6million of recurring savings secured for each year going forward, which means £711.9million of £1billion projected for the ten years to 2016 have now been secured.

And importantly for taxpayers, the net benefit to the council's general fund is £14.1million this year, rising in 2011/12 to £19.5million - equivalent to almost seven per cent of all Council Tax collected in the city, which would have to be found in other ways if it were not for Business Transformation.

However, the scheme is not just about raw savings. It has also modernised and reshaped the way the council works to provide first-class services for citizens.

Some of the many highlights include:

-    A massive increase in the percentage of invoices paid on time with 30 days to 96 per cent (best-ever performance for the city council)
-    £69million of cashable savings from better procurement methods
-    The start of a programme to develop 13 state-of-the-art Customer Service Centres, replacing outdated Neighbourhood Offices
-    A revamp of the council website, enabling citizens to create online accounts to make and track queries
-    The start of a programme to rationalise 55 core administrative buildings down to just eight modern sites, recently praised by the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government
-    The launch of a self-service HR system for employees, cutting out layers of unnecessary administrative process

Cllr Paul Tilsley, Deputy Leader of Birmingham City Council, said: “When we started Business Transformation, we knew we were setting ourselves a massive modernisation challenge - but it is one that we risen to successfully.

“There have been some obstacles to clear as a programme of change this big and this complex was always going to face some teething problems. But we have overcome them to deliver better services in a more efficient, modern way.

“The council needed to change the way it went about its business, and the fact we are still on course to realise the forecast benefits at the halfway point shows we have got it right.”

Things to look out for in the coming years include:

-    Further contractual savings through better procurement
-    The introduction of a single 0121 telephone number for accessing the council, replacing more than 400 existing numbers
-    Further enhancements and additions to the citizen account system
-    The completion of a new administrative building at Woodcock Street, housing more than 2,000 employees
-    A launch for the ninth and final Business Transformation workstream, covering the council's environmental activity

Glyn Evans, Corporate Director of Business Change, added: “Since 2006 we have developed a positive reputation both nationally and internationally as being at the forefront of service transformation in the public sector.

“We have had interest from as far afield as Singapore, Russia and Australia in what we are doing, which is something we should be proud of.

“Our approach to innovation and delivery of transformational change has been turned into an 'instruction manual' which we've made available for everyone who wants to use it.

“We've also worked with a national accreditation body (APMG) to establish formal qualifications in the approach, which we've called CHAMPS2 - this is our way of spreading the benefits of our work to as wide an audience as possible, which is a hidden value of Business Transformation.

“There is still a lot to be done to ensure we realise all the benefits that Business Transformation offers - and I am sure that the hard work put in by everyone at the council so far will ensure that this is the case.”

Birmingham’s transformation journey will be the focus of a one-day event on March 2 entitled 'Transforming Local Government - Learning Lessons for the Future', which will feature Sir Bob Kerslake, the top civil servant responsible for local government,  as the headline speaker.

For more details on the event, visit: http://btevents.org/transforming/

ENDS

Notes to editors

1.    Business Transformation is Birmingham City Council's ambitious nine-strand programme which aims to modernise and enhance services delivered across the whole authority to citizens. It is projected that the programme will realise benefits of £1billion over the ten years to 2016.

2.    Service Birmingham is a strategic partnership between Birmingham City Council and Capita which will support a transformation in the way the council works; improving services and contributing to its efficiency agenda. This strategic partnership forms part of the council’s objective to find better and more innovative ways of delivering services for the benefit of employees and citizens. The principle of this joint venture focuses on the provision of cost effective, sector leading, ICT services and in supporting the council in achieving its business transformation objectives.

For further information contact Kris Kowalewski on 0121 303 3621

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