Direct Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council by alicejenny



                                    TABLE OF CONTENTS

1. Reason for Change 3
  1.1 Background 3
  1.2 Methodology 3
  1.3 Why do we need to change? 4
  1.4 Mystery Shopping 4

2. What will b-direct do? 5
  2.1 What will a Corporate Contact Service provide? 5
  2.2 What will this mean for people? 5
  2.3 Measuring Success 5
  2.4 Using Council Services 6

3. Cost 6

4 Alternatives for Service Delivery 8
  Appraisal of alternatives 9

5. How Services will be delivered by b-direct 9
  5.1 Process for identifying services 9
  5.2 Proposed Services for Inclusion by Department 10
  5.4 Timetable 11
  5.5 Staff Transition: Human Resource and Training Issues 11

6. Recommendation 12

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1. Reason for Change

1.1 Background
In September 2002, after detailed consultation with members of the public,
stakeholders and staff, Executive Board approved the vision for future delivery of
Council services. In February the Outline Business Case (OBC) recommending a
contact centre in the borough and two one stop shops, one in Blackburn and one in
Darwen was approved. Further work continued to develop a full Business Case to
consider the costs and benefits of a corporate contact service.

 Figure 1 “Our Vision of Accessible Services”

                                Consultation Workshop
                                    Focus Areas

     Customer First         Improved           Organisational      Linking Services
                             Access               Change

     The Council will    The Council will     We will provide      The Council will
     adopt new ways      develop more         our staff with       develop links
     of working that     effective ways       the training and     between
     put the needs of    of enabling          information that     services where
     s citizens and      service users to     they need to do      this would offer
     customers first.    access the           their jobs           clear benefits to
                         services that        properly             the end user.
                         they need.

This report sets out the business case for a Corporate Contact Service to provide
joined-up service delivery. This will bring together front line services across the
Council and redesign them under a single management structure. A consistent
approach to front line service provision and processes designed from a customer
perspective, will allow us to make significant improvements. In particular it will tackle
the problems faced by people using our services being passed around between staff
and departments to have problems resolved.

1.2 Methodology
All departments worked to gather, validate and analyse information and help to
develop proposals for work to be undertaken by b-direct. People were seconded to
be part of the project team to make sure that the information from departments was
as accurate as possible. There was further consultation to ensure the accuracy of the
information. B-direct is an evolving project and areas can be reviewed at the
implementation stage. A series of workshops were attended by a cross section of
staff from each department from the end user to senior management, these were,

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               FULL BUSINESS CASE
         initial scoping workshop
         frequently asked question collation
         collection and validation of contact details
         process improvements
         Departmental Management Team (DMT).

1.3 Why do we need to change?
A number of key drivers underpinned the development of the b-direct programme:

   Low levels of Citizen Satisfaction - only 59% of people satisfied with the Council
   68% of our services meet e-government targets. The target is to deliver 100% by
   Coordination of front line services
   Increasing demands and expectations for services to be delivered differently and
    at convenient times.
   New technologies allow customer/citizen information to be used to improve
    service levels
   Challenging e-government targets which need to be achieved by 2005
   Maintain ‘Excellent’ local authority standards
   Keep pace with changes in delivering modern public service
   Future focus of CPA will be Customer Satisfaction

1.4 Mystery Shopping
The telephone mystery shopping exercise shows that we deliver a patchy service to

Staff are not aware of areas of work undertaken by other departments. Our internet
directory only groups people by name or department. It is hard to find out who
undertakes a particular role. Job titles can be misleading and a common complaint is
regarding the number of times people get passed around from one person to

Figures from the telephone mystery shopping exercise show that none of our
services fall into the excellent category. The baseline for good services is 70% and
services below that level are not acceptable.

Figure 1: Performance by Department                                Source: Genesis

     Excellent               Very Good                 Good                Unacceptable
    80% - 100%                75%-79%                70%-74%
        0                        2                      1                        8

A similar exercise on face to face services showed a lack of consistency around
service delivery. The services were scored in a number of categories and the
maximum achievable score was 80. The baseline for a good service was 45.
Figure 2: Performance of Council Reception Points                  Source: Stormhouse

        Excellent            Very Good                   Good              Unacceptable
         66-80                 56 - 65                   45 - 55            44 & below

           1                       3                       5                     7

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2. What will b-direct do?

The b-direct programme is designed to put people at the centre of service delivery
and to make future services more accessible, convenient, responsive and cost
effective. Services provided now across the authority do not always meet this vision.

2.1 What will a Corporate Contact Service provide?
 Streamlined access through simple contact arrangements
 Better customer service
 Services through a Contact Centre in the Borough, two One Stop Shops and over
    the Web
 More flexible opening hours
 Consistent quality of front line services
 80% of all contacts with the Council will be resolved at first contact
 New technology to track the progress of enquiries & efficiently deal with new or
    existing contacts.
 Re-design procedures for dealing with more than 1 million telephone calls
 Multi-channel access for all services – telephone, e-mail, website, letter, fax
 Provision of timely, accurate and relevant advice, information and services
 Fulfil freedom of information and data protection requirements

2.2 What will this mean for people?
Mr S dies…His widow registers the death and is advised of the forms that need to be
Today she must notify all of the different Council departments that the family may be
involved with. In the meantime she will continue to get all of Mr S’s correspondence.

With b-direct once one contact is made, better IT will update all of the systems
across the Council. We can give information on other services that might be available
to people or signpost them to other organisations where necessary.

Here, Library and Leisure passes any Discretionary travel passes, Council Tax,
Housing Benefit and other matters would be updated automatically.

Mrs S will not have to explain that her husband has died to all of the different parts of
the Council

2.3 Measuring Success
A number of factors have been identified to enable an effective measurement of the
level of success of b-direct.

Of most importance to the Council and its Citizens are:

      Customer experience is improved so that customers feel that their problem is
       “owned” by the Council
      Consistent service provided irrespective of how contact is made
      Diversity of customer requirements is reflected in service
      “Right first time” approach
      Improved back office efficiency
      Resources flexible to meet demands

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         Understanding of types of customer queries and proactive response
         Customer interface managed more effectively and efficiently
         Staff satisfaction improved
         Members supported better to be able to quickly deal with customer issues
         Members both accountable and responsible for the delivery of services.

2.4 Using Council Services
To meet these customer expectations and needs, the Council needs to restructure
the way in which it interacts with its Customers. The b-direct approach will expand
the ways and times that customers can contact the Council. Small scale call centres
and one stop shops exist within the Council’s current service delivery model. These
will be linked to deliver a joined up service. This will improve the efficiency and
effectiveness of the services delivered. The Council are keen that all contacts will be
handled under a unified structure and in the same way, regardless of contact method
and/or location:

         a single contact centre managing a range of non- face to face contacts based
          within the borough
         two one stop shops, one based in Darwen and one in Blackburn
         Self service options including the Blackburn with Darwen website, kiosks and
          possibly Digital TV
         More effective use of all of the Councils venues for services such as
          bookings, payments etc.

Where possible and appropriate, information held by the Council will be consolidated
in a common information system or corporate database to ensure it can be accessed
and used by all.

3. Cost

3.1       To inform this business case a cost model has been developed for the b-
          direct option which compares the costs of providing the service over 10 and
          15 years. It offsets this with the existing cost of service provision and
          associated efficiencies over the period of the business case. These come
          from more efficient resolution of citizen’s contacts and integration and
          streamlining of front office and back office services.

3.2       To deliver a high quality b-direct service the Council’s existing ICT
          infrastructure (Network, E-mail, Telephony, Website) has been reviewed to
          ensure that is ‘fit for purpose’. Additional investment of approximately £7
          million needs to be made over the next 10 years to deliver this objective.

          In realty this investment should be made regardless of whether the Council
          approves the implementation of b-direct.

3.3       The b-direct service also proposes significant investment in developing the
          One Stop Shops in Blackburn Town Hall and Darwen Town Hall and the
          creation of a telephone contact centre within the Borough. This is estimated to
          cost approximately £1 million. Significant accommodation expenditure is
          necessary to improve the quality of face-to-face contact in any event.

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3.4   Inevitably in a change programme of this size, which is dependent on
      assumptions about volumes and costs of implementation the Council needs
      to factor in a contingency figure within the overall Business Plan. The Cost
      model proposes that the Council agree a contingency figure of £2.5 million.
      This Business Case therefore recommends that the Council approve a net
      budget for b-direct of £8.9 million

             Cost of Service                                £6.4 million
             Contingency                                    £2.5 million

             Total                                          £8.9 million


             Investment in IT (10 years)                    £7 million
             Investment in Accommodation (10 years)         £1 million

3.5   The Cost Model shows that subject to the inclusion of contingency levels as
      part of the Full Business Case, the cost to the Council is approximately £8.9
      million (including investment in IT and accommodation) over 10 years. When
      the IT and Accommodation investment detailed in paragraphs 3.2 and 3.3 are
      taken into account, the development of the core b-direct service (Contact
      Centre and One Stop Shops) is effectively cost neutral over the next 10 years

      Cost of Current Service               £50m
      Additional Cost of B-direct           £6.4 m
      Contingency                           £2.5 m
      Total                                 £8.9 m

      Less Money available now               £2 m

      Additional cost over 10 years          £6.9m
      Cost of New Service                    £58.9m

      The Cost model includes all of the following items for consideration when
      producing the above figure:

      Staff Costs            including recruitment, training and welfare
      Operating Costs        including stationery, printing, marketing existing and
                             additional ICT and infrastructure costs
      Accommodation          refurbishment, renewal and additional accommodation

      Capital expenditure
      Cost of borrowing , margins and overheads

      It also considers opportunity costs linked to delays in implementation, legal
      and financial issues and all of the implementation costs for the project.

3.6   The development of e-services is a key part of both the Government and the
      Council agenda with the added target of the 2005 e-government targets. To
      assist the implementation of b-direct and to partially offset the £8.9 million net
      cost of b-direct the Council has secured already over £2 million of funding
      from ERDF, successful Implementing Electronic Government (IEG)

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              FULL BUSINESS CASE
          Statements the Local E-Government partnership and from within the
          approved 2003/04 Budget. Modernising local government and electronic
          service delivery is an important part of the central government agenda and
          further external funding will be sought to reduce the net cost to the Council.
          This upfront funding means that the Council is in a good position to proceed
          with the b-direct immediately.

3.7       The business case and the cost model are calculated on successful
          resolution of approximately 1.5 million citizen contacts a year. However, in
          designing the b-direct model and IT infrastructure there is flexibility to
          increase volumes of contacts as a result of issues such as potential boundary
          changes or to be able to attract additional income from other third parties (e.g.
          Health, Colleges, Housing providers, etc) integrating into b-direct. This is a
          key area for the future development of b-direct.

4 Alternatives for Service Delivery

Three alternatives for delivering b-direct were considered.

         The Council could provide all of the services and staffing on its own. This is
          very expensive. All of the IT and capital costs for the project would need to be
          found by the Council at the start of the project.

         The Council could outsource its front line services to a third party. The
          Council would have less direct control over service delivery. The contractual
          negotiations and tendering process could delay the implementation beyond
          the 2005 e-Government targets

         The preferred alternative is an integrated front line service, managed by the
          Council. Currently, approximately 40% of all contacts Citizens have with
          Council services are with services managed by Capita. B-direct will be staffed
          by both Council and Capita staff. Capita will second staff to the Council as
          part of the service with clear accountability established within the partnership.

This would have the following benefits:
    The management and delivery of the service will be in the Council’s control
    All front line services across the partnership will be linked and can develop
       better efficiencies
    A corporate approach to customer service can be promoted effectively
    Costs can be more easily capitalised and spread over the life of the project
    Infrastructure costs can be shared and should benefits Council services
    This will be an opportunity to strengthen the partnership and tackle areas of
       concern e.g. benefits
    Opportunities to grow and develop the service will be provided for both parties

Using the existing partnership will also give us opportunities in terms of speed of
delivery. It will be possible to use a team from across the Council and Capita to
begin implementing the project without delay. Improvements are likely to be
experienced very quickly by members of the public and customer satisfaction levels
should also increase. It is proposed that the service has good clear career grades
that fully reflect the importance of front line service provision to the Council and to the
Partnership. The Contact service will be part of the Council’s structure and full details
of the management and other arrangements for b-direct will be included in work
currently being undertaken by the Chief Executive to review a range of services.

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Appraisal of alternatives

All b-direct services provided solely though the Council
     Requires a big initial Capital Outlay by the Council (How would we fund?)
     All risk in delivery of service and costs borne by the Council
     Council staff would need to cover all contacts within b-direct, loss of Capita
         element into the service resulting in additional staffing costs
     Accountability issues with the existing PPP arrangements
     IT services could still be procured and provided through the partnership
     Productivity and efficiency gains will take longer to deliver

Procure and provide b-direct through a third party
    Procurement process will take at least 12 months – b-direct would be
       delivered in 2005 at the earliest
    Staff costs would be bought in from the third party (possible limited TUPE),
       therefore additional cost to the Council
    Risks shared with third party provider
    Productivity and efficiency gains easier to specify and deliver – but would this
       be at the cost of service quality

Integrated Joint Service Provision managed by the Council
     Staff costs are neutral – existing staff costs within Council and Capita pooled
        into joint service
     Other Costs already in partnership contract therefore no additional profit
        margin from a third party agreement
     Risks in delivery of services and costs shared by the Council and Capita
     Joint Best Practice should increase productivity and produce efficiencies
     Management and delivery of the service will be in the Council’s control
     Scalability to address changes in demand for third party involvement or
        increased population

In looking at the costs of providing b-direct solely though the Council or through a
third party, the biggest cost difference is that the Council would incur significant
additional staffing costs; whilst in an Integrated Joint Service Provision managed by
the Council the staffing costs are effectively neutral as they are already included
within the existing PPP contract.

This one difference means that the first two alternatives are significantly more
expensive to deliver than the third which can be viewed as the only affordable option.

5. How Services will be delivered by b-direct

5.1 Process for identifying services
A project team was established in May 2003 with the specific role to identify and
document the key business processes currently being undertaken within the Council.
The scope of this work was to include initial customer facing contacts and to
determine which of these services were suitable for delivery by the corporate contact
service. Criteria were established against which to evaluate suitability for inclusion.

      Volumes –large number of contacts / a significant proportion of activity
      supported processes – processes delivered primarily via applications

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                FULL BUSINESS CASE
           Step-Change in Customer Service – processes which will improve through
            delivery of a different approach
           Simplicity – e.g. sign posting, information giving and progress chasing
           Quick Wins – customer contact processes already in existence that could be
            linked through a contact service
           Consistency – in person, by phone, mail, email etc
           Importance to Customers – high profile services to customers
           Fee Income generating services

   5.2 Proposed Services for Inclusion by Department
   The table below sets out the proposed services which have been identified as
   suitable for delivery by the corporate contact service. It is important to make sure
   that sufficient volumes of each task are transferred to the contact service.

   One of the most important tasks in the implementation stage is to re-view these
   proposals and to make sure that they are in reality the most suitable. Consideration
   needs to be given to how to make the best use of opportunities for generic working
   for example to allow all payments to be made in the same way, send out information
   to people and arrange for services to be delivered. This could have an impact on the
   exact nature of the services that are selected.

Department                        Summary of Services for Inclusion

Capita Business Services             Payroll and Recruitment general enquiries
                                     Council Tax enquiries and payments
                                     Benefits enquiries
                                     Traffic and Public Rights of Way enquires
                                     Highway and other queries
                                     Provision of information for car parking, education transport

Culture, Leisure and Sport           Provision of information regarding libraries, membership renewals, stock
                                     Provision of information regarding leisure facilities, exercise classes
                                     Beez card applications
                                     Provision of information King Georges Hall, box office, room hires
                                     General enquiries about sport and community development

Direct Services                      Information provision/Service requests for cleansing
                                     Information provision/Service requests for amenities
                                     Service requests for gas appointments
                                     Skip Hire

Education and Lifelong Learning      General information provision regarding study centres, access points
                                     General information provision regarding education welfare, child
                                     Children’s information service – general enquiries
                                     Youth Service – general enquires
                                     Governor’s – general enquires
                                     Admission and Exclusion enquiries

Policy ( Subject to changes to       General Council information/Member enquires
Legal and Democratic Services)       Policy and Research enquires
                                     Corporate information about the Council

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                  FULL BUSINESS CASE
Department                             Summary of Services for Inclusion

Legal and Admin ( Subject to              Register of electors – general enquires
changes to Legal and Democratic           Births, Deaths and marriages enquires – Appointments with a registrar
Services)                                 Information on land charges

Regeneration, Housing and                 Environmental Health - Provision of information/advice
Neighbourhood Services                    Neighbourhood Services – general enquiries

Rights Advice and Entitlements            Switchboard
                                          Provision of tourist information
                                          General information provision regarding asylum support
                                          General information provision regarding advice centres
                                          Welfare Rights
                                          Bus Passes/Blue Badges
                                          Trading Standards – general enquires

Social Services                           General information and advice about the services provided/how to
                                           access Social Services.
                                          Customer Liaison

   5.4 Timetable
   During the early stages of implementation of Accessible Services, work will be
   undertaken to carry out an initial integration of agreed existing facilities including the
   switchboard and departmental helpdesks preparatory to development of the full
   contract centre. In addition to improvements to Customer service, this will allow
   linking in services, development of cross departmental processes and identification of
   improvements in back office functions at an early stage.
   Table 1 Phasing of b-direct
           Phase                       Contact Channel              Indicative Date
   Roll-out infrastructure       N/A                              October 2003
   Implementation                N/A                              September 2003
   Phase One              Contact Centre / Website                February 2004
   Phase Two              One Stop Shops                          July 2004
   Phase Three            Web and Kiosk services                  Continuous – 2005
                          Linked Council facilities
   The channel inclusion by phase is therefore:
      phase one: telephone and website
      phase two: email and face-to-face
      phase three: whitemail.

   5.5 Staff Transition: Human Resource and Training Issues
   Staff liaison and communication is imperative and one of the early tasks is to produce
   a full staff communication plan. Meetings have been scheduled with the Unions to
   propose the most effective way forward and additional meetings will take place with
   all staff. The implementation needs to consider both staff transition and HR and
   training issues
            The training must be of a level sufficient to enable the delivery of all services
            and will include the provision of training for
             IT and telephony
             Customer service

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         Technical knowledge of departments covered

      Full training needs to be provided for all staff transferring from within other
      departments or seconded from Capita. In addition a training programme for
      new staff needs to be established. A period of additional cover for front line
      services will be necessary to allow current staff to have training and this
      needs to be considered as part of the implementation process.

      Human Resource Issues
       Identification of Customer focussed staff
       Recruitment processes
       Redeployment of existing staff across the Council
       Negotiation with Unions
       Proposed HR Action Plan

6. Recommendation

It is recommended that members proceed with the implementation of b-direct
as an integrated front line service, managed by the Council and making
effective use of new technology.

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