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e-Work in Local Government

Report of workshop from conference:
"Putting the 'e-' in e-government"
Birmingham, February 2001

Case Studies

David Lennan of Surrey County Council and Caroline Stanger of Cambridgeshire County Council provided insights into their councils' experience of implementing new ways of working.

Surrey Workstyle

Improving service to customers is inextricably linked with changing the way we work. This principle has been one of the key drivers of the Surrey County Council Workstyle programme. Public expectations of better service, plus the modernising government agenda and the opportunities brought about by new technologies have led to the implementation of new ways of working.

Key benefits have been:

  • Better use of time through a menu of flexible working options

    • flexible time

    • flexible location

  • Better use of space, including;

    • property rationalisation - 74 down to 21 buildings (627,000 sq ft to 400,000 sq ft)

    • workstation to employee ratio of 4:5

    • changed office layout and design

  • Better use of technology :

    • working at any desk

    • better access to information

    • roving profiles

    • use of web technologies

The business benefits range form financial benefits due to reduced property costs, to increased productivity to environmental benefits linked to the County Travel Plan.

Key issues in developing the programme have included:

  • the scale of investment required for change

  • how fast should they move

  • the state of current technology

  • winning the hearts and minds of staff

A key theme running through the programme has been that of improving the working lives of staff, tying in with work-life balance issues.

For further information, contact David Lennan.

Cambridgeshire

At Cambridgeshire one of the key drivers for change has been the need to deliver services to the fastest growing population in the country, while receiving the lowest level of government grant per head in the country.

Cambridgeshire's involvement in flexible working an innovative ICT projects dates back to the mid-1990s, and the pace has certainly hotted up in the new Millennium.

Initiatives include:

  • 65 major IT projects started since the Millenium

  • a PFI (private finance initiative) project to create a county-side broadband network

  • a number of flexible working initiatives

  • property rationalisation combined with new ways of working

  • new-style one-stop-shops incorporating flexible and touch-down workspace

  • call-centre pilots.

Key initiatives have taken place in Trading Standards and Social Services to enable highly mobile staff to work more effectively, and in the provision of services to a new rural settlement.

Caroline emphasised the importance of organisational development issues, and linking the IT, facilities and HR issues. At Cambridgeshire a Modernisation Team has the authority to develop the vision and to drive initiatives forward.

For further details, contact Caroline Stanger.

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