Issuu on Google+

The art of the possible

l a c o l n i T I of e g r a h c n i e What thos g n i k n i h t y l l a e r e r a t n e m n r gove

A review of the Capita stand at Socitm 2012


3

The art of the possible With the public sector only half way through the current round of funding cuts at best and many suggesting that austerity will need to extend well beyond the expected time frames, it would be understandable if the spirit of IT professionals at the Society of IT Managers Annual Conference (Socitm) in November 2012 was flagging. However, the IT leaders present at the event revealed their unwavering ability to not only adapt to change but to embrace it. And they shared their ideas in an unusual discussion, carried out almost entirely in drawings. For the first time, IT professionals throughout Socitm 2012 had an opportunity to voice their concerns and put forward ideas for potential solutions. Artists then got to work turning the plethora of comments and conversations into images and painting these on to a huge blank canvas. The results of the exercise show clearly that IT managers in local government are indeed finding it stressful coping with the constant change that has been thrust upon them. Despite the pressures, it was nonetheless very clear that the IT profession is in no mood to shirk from the situation they face. They firmly believe that IT is a significant part of the solution to maintaining service levels in local government with reduced budgets and they are determined to grab the bull by the horns in delivering what is required of them.

What are the big worries? From the conversations we had and the sketches left on Capita’s wall, we could see that the major concerns of IT managers in local government could be split into four categories:

1 . 2. 3. 4.

The difficulty in applying the right blend of technologies Issues around data sharing Gaps in the sharing of best practice between authorities Minimizing risk, while remaining innovative


3

The art of the possible With the public sector only half way through the current round of funding cuts at best and many suggesting that austerity will need to extend well beyond the expected time frames, it would be understandable if the spirit of IT professionals at the Society of IT Managers Annual Conference (Socitm) in November 2012 was flagging. However, the IT leaders present at the event revealed their unwavering ability to not only adapt to change but to embrace it. And they shared their ideas in an unusual discussion, carried out almost entirely in drawings. For the first time, IT professionals throughout Socitm 2012 had an opportunity to voice their concerns and put forward ideas for potential solutions. Artists then got to work turning the plethora of comments and conversations into images and painting these on to a huge blank canvas. The results of the exercise show clearly that IT managers in local government are indeed finding it stressful coping with the constant change that has been thrust upon them. Despite the pressures, it was nonetheless very clear that the IT profession is in no mood to shirk from the situation they face. They firmly believe that IT is a significant part of the solution to maintaining service levels in local government with reduced budgets and they are determined to grab the bull by the horns in delivering what is required of them.

What are the big worries? From the conversations we had and the sketches left on Capita’s wall, we could see that the major concerns of IT managers in local government could be split into four categories:

1 . 2. 3. 4.

The difficulty in applying the right blend of technologies Issues around data sharing Gaps in the sharing of best practice between authorities Minimizing risk, while remaining innovative


5

1. The right blend of technology

2. Data share or data scare

IT managers are convinced that increased data sharing will happen and that for them it is an overwhelmingly positive development. However, that doesn’t mean that it will be easy to achieve. Delegates told us that they are struggling with the complexities associated with data sharing across agencies and departments. They fear security leaks and the risk of contravening the Data Protection Act – but they are also fearful of failing citizens, particularly the vulnerable, who have the most to benefit from agencies being able to provide a joined-up response to their needs.

There is a wide array of options when it comes to choosing technology. Heads of IT are feeling the pressure to identify the exact blend of technology which will provide the best outcomes for their business. The cloud is a good example of this. Some delegates espoused the advantages that cloud technology offers in terms of flexibility; others were concerned about the security of data, the loss of physical control of hardware and how the cloud would operate alongside their existing infrastructure. In addition, decisions need to be made over whether it is preferable to provide in-house technology solutions and services or whether to outsource. Delegates see benefits in both scenarios and the difficulty is in balancing the needs of the citizen and the needs of the business to make the best choices. One thing was clear, and that is that more will be demanded from the technology and from the IT department against a tighter-than-ever budget, making all investment an increasingly risky business.


5

1. The right blend of technology

2. Data share or data scare

IT managers are convinced that increased data sharing will happen and that for them it is an overwhelmingly positive development. However, that doesn’t mean that it will be easy to achieve. Delegates told us that they are struggling with the complexities associated with data sharing across agencies and departments. They fear security leaks and the risk of contravening the Data Protection Act – but they are also fearful of failing citizens, particularly the vulnerable, who have the most to benefit from agencies being able to provide a joined-up response to their needs.

There is a wide array of options when it comes to choosing technology. Heads of IT are feeling the pressure to identify the exact blend of technology which will provide the best outcomes for their business. The cloud is a good example of this. Some delegates espoused the advantages that cloud technology offers in terms of flexibility; others were concerned about the security of data, the loss of physical control of hardware and how the cloud would operate alongside their existing infrastructure. In addition, decisions need to be made over whether it is preferable to provide in-house technology solutions and services or whether to outsource. Delegates see benefits in both scenarios and the difficulty is in balancing the needs of the citizen and the needs of the business to make the best choices. One thing was clear, and that is that more will be demanded from the technology and from the IT department against a tighter-than-ever budget, making all investment an increasingly risky business.


7

3. If only we had known...

4. Can we innovate?

The anxiety around failure is very high on IT professionals’ minds as they move into 2013. There is a view that they can barely afford to do the right thing, let alone risk doing the wrong thing. Delegates told us that they were worried there was a lack of communication among councils in similar situations. This has meant that there is needless repetition of costly mistakes, while the best ideas are not being shared for the greater benefit of all.

Innovation was a hot topic at Socitm as this was seen as vital to ensuring government can successfully adapt to the new economic landscape. But it was acknowledged that local government is a hard ship to turn. Innovation can be further hampered by endless procedures surrounding procurement and the huge numbers of services offered by councils. Delegates told us that they are caught on the horns of a dilemma; innovation is the key to turning this ship around but with innovation comes investment and this is hugely risky at a time when budgets are so tight. IT managers felt that when it comes to being innovative, they are damned if they do and damned if they don’t. Visitors to the Capita stand also highlighted the need to work closer with CEOlevel decision makers. They told us that since IT can inform and support many of the changes local government need to make at the moment, they need to ensure IT is represented at the top table when decisions are being made. Regular engagement at director level will be crucial to ensuring innovation can be embraced.


7

3. If only we had known...

4. Can we innovate?

The anxiety around failure is very high on IT professionals’ minds as they move into 2013. There is a view that they can barely afford to do the right thing, let alone risk doing the wrong thing. Delegates told us that they were worried there was a lack of communication among councils in similar situations. This has meant that there is needless repetition of costly mistakes, while the best ideas are not being shared for the greater benefit of all.

Innovation was a hot topic at Socitm as this was seen as vital to ensuring government can successfully adapt to the new economic landscape. But it was acknowledged that local government is a hard ship to turn. Innovation can be further hampered by endless procedures surrounding procurement and the huge numbers of services offered by councils. Delegates told us that they are caught on the horns of a dilemma; innovation is the key to turning this ship around but with innovation comes investment and this is hugely risky at a time when budgets are so tight. IT managers felt that when it comes to being innovative, they are damned if they do and damned if they don’t. Visitors to the Capita stand also highlighted the need to work closer with CEOlevel decision makers. They told us that since IT can inform and support many of the changes local government need to make at the moment, they need to ensure IT is represented at the top table when decisions are being made. Regular engagement at director level will be crucial to ensuring innovation can be embraced.


9

Turning the ship around

How can it be done?

Given a blank canvas, IT professionals in local government were more focused on solutions than problems in November 2012. Here is a summary of what delegates to Socitm 2012 highlighted as the key areas that can ensure change will happen.

For all the concerns voiced by delegates during the Socitm conference, there was a distinctly positive outlook for the future. A surprisingly large number of IT managers saw the halfway point of an economic crisis as a time of great opportunity. ‘We cannot waste a good crisis,’ said one delegate, and it is true – they don’t last forever. People accept there needs to be change in a crisis and it is a time when change happens fast. Many at the conference saw this collective state of mind as a chance to redesign council services and their delivery to better suit the citizen. Delegates saw it as an opportunity to ‘make history’, highlighting the opportunities that this unique set of circumstances could really offer.

1. People “Use a carrot, not a club” The IT community told us that people are as important as technology in bringing about change. Teamwork is essential, as is effective communication. Seeking input from all levels, including citizens, partners and staff at the coalface, would ensure that people would be more motivated to achieve goals together. This would also allow for those with the best understanding of the processes to bring new and exciting ideas to the table that would be firmly rooted in improving processes for the citizen.


9

Turning the ship around

How can it be done?

Given a blank canvas, IT professionals in local government were more focused on solutions than problems in November 2012. Here is a summary of what delegates to Socitm 2012 highlighted as the key areas that can ensure change will happen.

For all the concerns voiced by delegates during the Socitm conference, there was a distinctly positive outlook for the future. A surprisingly large number of IT managers saw the halfway point of an economic crisis as a time of great opportunity. ‘We cannot waste a good crisis,’ said one delegate, and it is true – they don’t last forever. People accept there needs to be change in a crisis and it is a time when change happens fast. Many at the conference saw this collective state of mind as a chance to redesign council services and their delivery to better suit the citizen. Delegates saw it as an opportunity to ‘make history’, highlighting the opportunities that this unique set of circumstances could really offer.

1. People “Use a carrot, not a club” The IT community told us that people are as important as technology in bringing about change. Teamwork is essential, as is effective communication. Seeking input from all levels, including citizens, partners and staff at the coalface, would ensure that people would be more motivated to achieve goals together. This would also allow for those with the best understanding of the processes to bring new and exciting ideas to the table that would be firmly rooted in improving processes for the citizen.


11

2. Technology

3. Integration

Delegates told us that integration with others is the key to their success. This is not just about sharing services, although this can be an effective way of reducing costs. It can also be about sharing parts of a service or processes. It could mean that all of a council’s payments are managed via the same payment portal, for example, so there are not separate systems for council tax, rent or parking fines. Wherever the costs of change can be shared there are benefits that can be realised and risks divided. Integration also provides the perfect opportunity to improve on the services provided rather than just bringing them together for cost saving motives.

The confidence of visitors to the wall was unbreakable in one area; they were in no doubt that IT was the answer to navigating the local government ship through these murky economic waters. But they felt IT can only achieve greater efficiencies if council services themselves are fundamentally redesigned to be more effective. This means that solutions should not be focused around the technology but have the citizen at the centre. They feel this is the perfect opportunity to stop doing things just because it is the way they have always been done and to look at what the customer really wants so you can work backwards from there. This approach will help reduce the risks associated with being innovative. In addition, there were suggestions that councils could use more young people to help inform them about the technology that they are using, especially around social media. After all, the younger generation are the customers of the future and will help ensure the longevity of new services implemented.


11

2. Technology

3. Integration

Delegates told us that integration with others is the key to their success. This is not just about sharing services, although this can be an effective way of reducing costs. It can also be about sharing parts of a service or processes. It could mean that all of a council’s payments are managed via the same payment portal, for example, so there are not separate systems for council tax, rent or parking fines. Wherever the costs of change can be shared there are benefits that can be realised and risks divided. Integration also provides the perfect opportunity to improve on the services provided rather than just bringing them together for cost saving motives.

The confidence of visitors to the wall was unbreakable in one area; they were in no doubt that IT was the answer to navigating the local government ship through these murky economic waters. But they felt IT can only achieve greater efficiencies if council services themselves are fundamentally redesigned to be more effective. This means that solutions should not be focused around the technology but have the citizen at the centre. They feel this is the perfect opportunity to stop doing things just because it is the way they have always been done and to look at what the customer really wants so you can work backwards from there. This approach will help reduce the risks associated with being innovative. In addition, there were suggestions that councils could use more young people to help inform them about the technology that they are using, especially around social media. After all, the younger generation are the customers of the future and will help ensure the longevity of new services implemented.


13

4. B  ig data made simple

5. Communication

The need to talk more was a repeated refrain and would support the ability of councils to adapt to change quickly. Delegates called for greater sharing of good practice and more awareness of the pitfalls that can be avoided. Visitors also welcomed the role of professional societies such as Socitm and acknowledged that large suppliers could also play a role, sharing the good practice from other authorities that they have worked with.

6. Innovation and flexibility

IT managers are excited about sharing data to better serve the citizen; spotting trends through data sharing and analysis results in effective prevention rather than expensive reaction – identifying for instance, that an elderly person or a family may need closer support. There is also a significant time saving that can be achieved in not having to rekey data that exists elsewhere within the council. There was a call among delegates for data to be standardised into one format so that it could be shared more easily and safely without the need for significant IT investment. Single sign on was also seen as an important part of this process to streamline access to data and ensure that only those with the right clearance can see certain types of data.

Innovation was seen as an essential part of change. The view was that local government needs to be less risk averse. One suggestion was to create a risk budget so that new ideas could be tried out on a small scale with greater impunity. The general feeling was to accept that not every innovation will be successful but the risk is worthwhile if the lessons can be learned. A constantly changing environment requires more flexibility from everyone too. Visitors to the Capita’s wall called for greater adaptability in the way the authority deals with its citizens to respond to their needs more effectively. Flexibility was also desired in the way local government interacts with suppliers.


13

4. B  ig data made simple

5. Communication

The need to talk more was a repeated refrain and would support the ability of councils to adapt to change quickly. Delegates called for greater sharing of good practice and more awareness of the pitfalls that can be avoided. Visitors also welcomed the role of professional societies such as Socitm and acknowledged that large suppliers could also play a role, sharing the good practice from other authorities that they have worked with.

6. Innovation and flexibility

IT managers are excited about sharing data to better serve the citizen; spotting trends through data sharing and analysis results in effective prevention rather than expensive reaction – identifying for instance, that an elderly person or a family may need closer support. There is also a significant time saving that can be achieved in not having to rekey data that exists elsewhere within the council. There was a call among delegates for data to be standardised into one format so that it could be shared more easily and safely without the need for significant IT investment. Single sign on was also seen as an important part of this process to streamline access to data and ensure that only those with the right clearance can see certain types of data.

Innovation was seen as an essential part of change. The view was that local government needs to be less risk averse. One suggestion was to create a risk budget so that new ideas could be tried out on a small scale with greater impunity. The general feeling was to accept that not every innovation will be successful but the risk is worthwhile if the lessons can be learned. A constantly changing environment requires more flexibility from everyone too. Visitors to the Capita’s wall called for greater adaptability in the way the authority deals with its citizens to respond to their needs more effectively. Flexibility was also desired in the way local government interacts with suppliers.


15

7. Service delivery

8. Outsourcing

One of the points made by those who contributed to the wall was that they were being drawn to partners offering a new model for outsourcing. Councils can no longer predict what their situation will be in five to 10 years so rigid contracts will need to become something of the past. However, short-term contracts can be too limiting to encourage the level of innovation required from the provider to address the challenges presented by the budget cuts. Heads of IT instead want joint ventures where both parties benefit when service levels are surpassed and both feel the pain of non-fulfilment. These partnerships need to be built on trust and flexibility and contracts revisited for relevance on a regular basis.

Delegates imagined a future where the council was something different from the sum of the services it offered. Instead, it would act as an integrator, directing a community of partners, including suppliers and volunteers to achieve more effective, targeted services for its citizens. This vision of the future would save money and be more adaptable to citizens’ changing needs as well as meeting policy requirements. Delegates also touched on how the cloud could support this new-look council and how the need to be flexible in resolving data sharing issues will be critical.


15

7. Service delivery

8. Outsourcing

One of the points made by those who contributed to the wall was that they were being drawn to partners offering a new model for outsourcing. Councils can no longer predict what their situation will be in five to 10 years so rigid contracts will need to become something of the past. However, short-term contracts can be too limiting to encourage the level of innovation required from the provider to address the challenges presented by the budget cuts. Heads of IT instead want joint ventures where both parties benefit when service levels are surpassed and both feel the pain of non-fulfilment. These partnerships need to be built on trust and flexibility and contracts revisited for relevance on a regular basis.

Delegates imagined a future where the council was something different from the sum of the services it offered. Instead, it would act as an integrator, directing a community of partners, including suppliers and volunteers to achieve more effective, targeted services for its citizens. This vision of the future would save money and be more adaptable to citizens’ changing needs as well as meeting policy requirements. Delegates also touched on how the cloud could support this new-look council and how the need to be flexible in resolving data sharing issues will be critical.


Conclusion Capita: Technology led innovation for the public sector

“I have a dream of government” The views of those in charge of change in IT are clear. Capita’s wall was no wailing wall – it was a call for action! Those in IT in local government can see a bright future full of possibilities and are ready to make a difference. The budget cuts have made people think about what they can achieve rather than what they can’t. What’s more, they realise that they can’t afford not to achieve these things. The challenge now is for the IT professionals to grasp this opportunity and ensure those at CEO level are equipped with the information they need to make the best choices. It appears that the economic crisis has liberated IT managers from delivering the same old services more efficiently, to being at the centre of change. It’s a fresh start in a time of transformation – an opportunity to rethink how services can be fundamentally redesigned, from the ground up and be centred on the needs of the citizen.

With local authorities having to make sustainable cashable savings while maintaining or even improving customer service levels, achieving efficiencies through technology-led collaboration has become an established step for many organisations. To ensure you get it right first time you need to know you are partnering with the right experience and knowledge.

Capita provide solutions to over 95% of local authorities, 70% of police forces, 65% of fire and rescue services and 100% of ambulance trusts. Capita helps numerous organisations throughout the UK succeed in delivering innovative partnerships leading to efficiency gains and improved customer services to citizens. For example, Capita is instrumental in delivering infrastructure and software to over twenty five of the UK’s leading shared service operations and works in partnership with a broad range of public sector organisations, which include Birmingham City Council, London Borough of Harrow, Sheffield City Council, Swindon Borough Council, West Sussex County Council and many more.

Find out more about how Capita can help you, email lg.enquiries@capita.co.uk, visit the website at www.capita.co.uk or call 08701 631800. Capita is proud to be a Socitm premium partner.


Conclusion Capita: Technology led innovation for the public sector

“I have a dream of government” The views of those in charge of change in IT are clear. Capita’s wall was no wailing wall – it was a call for action! Those in IT in local government can see a bright future full of possibilities and are ready to make a difference. The budget cuts have made people think about what they can achieve rather than what they can’t. What’s more, they realise that they can’t afford not to achieve these things. The challenge now is for the IT professionals to grasp this opportunity and ensure those at CEO level are equipped with the information they need to make the best choices. It appears that the economic crisis has liberated IT managers from delivering the same old services more efficiently, to being at the centre of change. It’s a fresh start in a time of transformation – an opportunity to rethink how services can be fundamentally redesigned, from the ground up and be centred on the needs of the citizen.

With local authorities having to make sustainable cashable savings while maintaining or even improving customer service levels, achieving efficiencies through technology-led collaboration has become an established step for many organisations. To ensure you get it right first time you need to know you are partnering with the right experience and knowledge.

Capita provide solutions to over 95% of local authorities, 70% of police forces, 65% of fire and rescue services and 100% of ambulance trusts. Capita helps numerous organisations throughout the UK succeed in delivering innovative partnerships leading to efficiency gains and improved customer services to citizens. For example, Capita is instrumental in delivering infrastructure and software to over twenty five of the UK’s leading shared service operations and works in partnership with a broad range of public sector organisations, which include Birmingham City Council, London Borough of Harrow, Sheffield City Council, Swindon Borough Council, West Sussex County Council and many more.

Find out more about how Capita can help you, email lg.enquiries@capita.co.uk, visit the website at www.capita.co.uk or call 08701 631800. Capita is proud to be a Socitm premium partner.


Socitm, the association for ICT and related professionals in the public and third sectors, offers networking and peer support, professional development and access to research and consultancy on a wide range of policy and technology issues. Find out more at www.socitm.net

Capita in local government Capita’s partnerships within the local government sector mean that we have grown alongside and inherited some of the challenges faced by local government today. We are committed to ensuring that our clients are positioned well against an incredibly difficult future. We believe that together we can create a positive future. Be a part of it, have your say and see your ideas brought to life. For further information please contact us at lg.enquiries@capita.co.uk


Capita - The art of the possible