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Waverley Borough Council Committee System - Committee Document

Meeting of the Council held on 16/10/2001
Implementing Electronic Government (IEG) Statement



Waverley Borough Council

Implementing Electronic Government (IEG) Statement



CONTENTS

PAGE
1
      INTRODUCTION
1
2OVERVIEW SUMMARY
1
2.1 Our Vision
1
2.2 Current Position
3
2.3 Public Consultation
4
2.4 Partnerships and Cross-Cutting Relationships
5
2.5 Anticipated Costs, Benefits and Savings
5
2.6 Electronic Service Delivery Targets
6
3MILESTONES
7
3.1 Overview
7
3.2 Adoption of Waverley Public Access Strategy
7
3.3 Audit of Interactions
7
3.4 Assess Business Case for “Modern Ways of Working”
8
3.5 Staff Awareness
8
3.6 Skills Analysis
8
3.7 Replace Telephony Systems
8
3.8 Review Web Hosting Arrangements
9
3.9 Standards
9
4TRANSITION
9
4.1 Managing the Introduction of e-Government
9
4.2 Costs, Benefits and Savings
10
4.3 Partnership with Private & Voluntary Sector
10
4.4 Risk Assessment
11
4.5 Skills Needs Analysis and Training
11
5CONCLUSION
11
      Appendix 1 :
Milestones
Appendix 2 :IEG Priorities Proforma
Appendix 3 :Surrey Local Authorities Joint IEG Statement
Appendix 4 :Risk Assessment
1.

Waverley Borough Council – IEG Statement Page 1
1. INTRODUCTION
1.1 This document sets out Waverley Borough Council’s commitment to modern customer-focussed service delivery in line with its vision to provide “well-managed cost-effective local government services.”
1.2 Waverley is located in south-west Surrey bordering Hampshire and West Sussex. It is the largest of the eleven Boroughs within Surrey and covers 85,000 acres. At the 1999 mid-year estimates, Waverley had a population of 116,000. The four main urban centres of population are Farnham, Godalming, Haslemere and Cranleigh, in each of which the Council has an office open to the public.
1.3 The majority of residents in Waverley are relatively affluent and a recent survey indicates that 37% have home internet access. However, the largely rural nature of the Borough and its comparatively high proportion of senior citizens suggest that, although electronic service delivery may offer new and innovative ways of reaching isolated and vulnerable residents, extreme care must be taken to ensure that its introduction does not exclude those parts of the community who do not have access to the new technology.
1.4 Surrey local authorities have a long history of working together and are committed to the development of the seamless electronic delivery of public services in the “Information Age”. This commitment to partnership has been expressed in the form of a “Surrey Local Authorities Joint IEG Statement” (attached at Appendix 3) and demonstrated in the successful Pathfinder Bid for the joint-development of a county-wide Emergency Planning web-site.
1.5 This Statement has been approved by the Council’s Management Board and is scheduled to go to the Executive Committee on 28th August 2001. It should be noted, though, that this Statement will be subject to continuous revision, particularly in response to ongoing public consultation, the rolling programme of Best Value reviews and the outcomes of “milestones” such as the Audit of Interactions.

2. OVERVIEW SUMMARY
2.1 Our Vision
2.1.1 Waverley Borough Council’s vision for modern service delivery in 2005 is as follows:
For the Customer

For our staff 2.1.2 Waverley Borough Council is also committed to the shared vision expressed in the “Surrey Local Authorities Joint Implementing Electronic Government Statement” (SLAJIEG), in particular:
With our partners 2.1.3 Waverley Borough Council recognises that:
Customer’s expectations of access to and delivery of services are changing and will continue to change;
Electronic service delivery has the potential to provide the flexibility required to respond to that change and to deliver responsive, customer-focussed best value services;
In order to realise this potential it will be necessary to transform our business processes and re-engineer our service delivery to ensure they are customer-focussed ; and that
In focussing service delivery on the needs and expectations of our customers it is essential that we work in partnership with other service providers in the public, private and voluntary sectors to ensure a holistic approach that delivers integrated, seamless services more efficiently and effectively.
2.1.4 In responding to the challenge set by the above Waverley Borough Council understands the importance of:
Customer consultation – In order to take full advantage of the flexibility of electronic service delivery and respond to changes in our customers’ requirement within an acceptable timescale it will be necessary to continuously monitor the level of customer satisfaction of service delivery;
Collective commitment – In order to transform our business processes it is essential that our members, senior officers, service providers and suppliers are committed to integrating electronic service delivery into the culture of the organisation;
Customer research and analysis – In order to re-engineer our service delivery effectively it is essential that we identify key customer groups and their current and future access patterns;
Quality and consistency – In order to meet the needs and expectations of our customers we must ensure that the information provided is timely, accurate and uniform irrespective of point of access and the services delivered are of an identical high standard however it is requested; and
Joint working – In order to deliver an integrated and seamless service to our customers Waverley is committed to working in partnership with other service providers in the public, private and voluntary sectors. In addition to providing a single point of access to our citizens this will also increase efficiency by removing duplication of process, making smarter use of information (“capture once, use many”), sharing resources and spreading the investment.
2.1.5 In delivering the above Waverley Borough Council is committed to the principle that the outcomes must be:
Customer focussed – The way in which information is structured and presented must reflect the ways in which the customer wishes to access that information, not the way in which the Council and other services providers are organised. This will be achieved by adopting county-wide “life episodes” approach taking UKOnline’s lead as a template;
Accessible – e-Government is about providing the Council’s customer’s with choice. Access to information and services must therefore be made available via all viable interfaces, whether electronic or face-to-face. The Council has already drafted a “Public Access Strategy” which sets out its vision of upgrading its locality offices and main reception to “one-stop shops”; introducing “self-serve” information and communications technology (ICT) facilities; developing a telephone contact centre and achieving 100% provision of all services capable of electronic delivery by 2005; and
Socially inclusive – It is essential that no citizen or customer within the Borough is excluded from access to information and services. The introduction of electronic service delivery is seen by the Council as an opportunity to enhance service delivery to its isolated and vulnerable citizens and it will build upon the work it has already begun in forming partnerships with other service providers to develop new channels of access to these sectors of society.
2.1.6 Waverley Borough Council views e-Government as integral to the delivery of the Modernising Agenda and sees it as a key component of:
Best Value : e-Government offers the opportunity to address the issues raised by fundamental service reviews, particularly those resulting from the principles of “consultation” and “challenge”. The customer-focussed ethos of e-Government should therefore inform the recommendations arising from Waverley’s Best Value reviews of services and determine practical and viable ways of improving delivery to its citizens. To this end the principles of e-Government and the potential of electronic service delivery are already identified as issues to be addressed with the Council’s “Guidance on the Conduct of Fundamental Service Reviews”.
Community Strategy – As part of Waverley’s Community Strategy initiative a series of public events are to be held in each electoral ward, beginning in autumn 2001, hosted by the local councillors at which issues including the implications and opportunities of e-Government are to be considered. The results of these meetings will inform the direction and pace of progress in introducing electronic service delivery, in partnership with other service providers, to serve the needs of the community.
Community Leadership - e-Government provides the opportunity to enhance its customers’ perception of the Council as a service provider, enabler and innovator of public services via its potential to deliver seamless services and open new and direct channels of communication.
Governance – The Council was among the first in the Country to make all its committee documents available on-line via the Council’s web-site. An area of the web-site is dedicated to the democratic process and in recognition of this commitment, in 1999, Waverley received an award from the LGA in the category of “Re-invigorating Local Democracy”. Consultation exercises are undertaken electronically via the web, the latest of which was on the Government’s Modernising Agenda and new political structures for the Council. A phased programme to provide IT facilities and on-line access for members is underway (see para.2.2.4).
2.2 Current Position
2.2.1 The Borough of Waverley has a population of about 116,000 of whom 37% are aged 50 and over. The area is essentially rural in nature with 26% of the population living outside the four main settlements of Farnham, Godalming, Cranleigh and Haslemere. These circumstances provide challenges for the Council in the area of public access to services and information via traditional channels but they also present opportunities for electronic service delivery.
2.2.2 Within the Council, efforts have been made to raise member awareness of e-Government issues through presentations and seminars. Such presentations have also been made to management and other staff. On the Council's Executive Committee, the Resources portfolio holder has responsibility for ICT and e-Government matters and is briefed regularly on such issues.
2.2.3 The Council's ICT Strategy is currently under review and due for completion within the next two months. Officers are aware that following the submission of this IEG statement a full e-Government strategy will need to be formulated and that the ICT strategy will then need further review to support the Council's electronic service delivery initiatives. It is envisaged that the e-Government strategy will be completed by December 2001.
2.2.4 The Council has a policy of providing its members with IT facilities and is currently in the second phase of a programme to supply PCs with Microsoft Office, e-mail and internet access to all those councillors who have expressed an interest. There are 57 members of whom 41 have an e-mail address and 22 are using equipment supplied by the Council. It is envisaged that the rollout of facilities to all interested members will be completed in the next financial year. E-mail is now used extensively for communication with councillors and each has a home page on the Council's web-site that lists an e-mail address where available to aid communication with members of the public. All public committee documents are available via the web-site and a new secure area for members will soon be launched to provide further opportunities for member to member communication.
2.2.5 The Council has a web-site (www.waverley.gov.uk) which was launched in June 1998 and now receives approximately 18,000 visitors per month. The content covers the majority of Council services and is arranged thematically into four areas (A Place to Live, Work, Enjoy and Your Council) to ease user navigation. A significant amount of the frequently changing content is managed through Lotus Domino software particularly in areas such as committee documents, the business directory, press releases and recruitment. It is recognised that, thus far, it has not provided many interactive facilities although it has been used for public consultation with on-line questionnaires and an on-line payments facility has recently been launched in association with Girobank.
2.2.6 The Council also launched a web-site for senior citizens (www.seniorway.org.uk) in April 2001. This was an outcome of its Better Government for Older People project. A group including representatives of the CAB, Age Concern, the Library Service, plus a number of senior citizens, managed its implementation. As part of the initiative, the Council is also piloting free access to the internet within one of its sheltered units to address the information needs of older people.
2.2.7 The action plans resulting from Fundamental Service Reviews are starting to feed through the Council's emerging e-Government strategy. In particular, the following areas for development have been identified:
Development Control : Planning applications to be available for viewing on the web-site. This will link in with the implementation of document image processing within the planning department in the current financial year;
Building Control : Submission of applications via the web and the use of handheld devices for mobile workers;
Land Charges : Commitment to NLIS and the further development of IT systems to support this; and
Facilities Management : The Council’s Locality Offices to be developed to deliver a one-stop shop service, to provide self-service computers and access to the internet and to become satellite offices for staff working away from Godalming. This will need to link in with the business re-engineering of service delivery as set out in the Councils draft Public Access Strategy.
2.2.8 95% of staff working in the Council's offices have use of a networked PC with an internet e-mail address and access to the web where appropriate. The Council will also be reviewing its network infrastructure this year and upgrading, if necessary, to support further developments in such areas as GIS and Image processing.
2.2.9 In support of public access to information, the Council has installed free internet access points in two of its locality offices. This complements the service provided by Surrey County Council through its libraries. Kiosks have also been investigated and piloted for public surveys and to provide information for Farnham's millennium festival.
2.3 Public Consultation
2.3.1 In February 2001 the Council appointed Surrey Social Market Research Ltd to carry out a public consultation exercise in which 6,100 households were invited to complete a questionnaire on access to services. Over 2,450 households responded (a response rate of 40%) and the findings in the survey included the following:

respondents stated that their preferred method of contacting the Council was by telephone, with 66 per cent of residents using this method;
the findings suggested that older residents (65+) were more likely to visit the Council offices and less likely to telephone than younger age groups;
over a third of respondents said their preferred method of contact was to visit the relevant Waverley Council office;
nearly two thirds of respondents had actually visited the Council’s offices in the last 12 months;
there was little requirement for evening opening of offices (5pm-8pm) although a high proportion (45%) of the overall sample were retired;
37% of all respondents had home internet access however the percentages for the different age groups were as follows:

2.3.2 The survey results highlighted the need to provide access to services over a range of media to reflect the varying requirements of Waverley’s population. The survey also provides strong evidence of the take-up of the internet and points to this technology and, in the near future, digital interactive TV becoming more significant as a means of providing service and information.

2.3.3 In addition to the above consultation work Waverley has established a Citizens Panel of over 700 representatives that will be used to consider potential customer access channels.

2.4 Partnerships and Cross-Cutting Relationships
2.4.1 Waverley has worked actively in partnership with numerous public, private and voluntary sector bodies in the electronic delivery of services.
Liaison over e-Government developments via the Surrey Information Age Champions Group;
With all Surrey Authorities in a successful Pathfinder bid for the development of a joint Emergency Planning web-site;
The linking of the IT networks of all Surrey Councils as the foundation for joint service delivery and basis for the development of a Surrey online Portal;
Working with library services, the voluntary sector and senior citizens to develop and launch the seniorway.org.uk web-site. (In addition, a bid has been submitted for Round 4 Invest To Save funds to extend the project to include the Waverley Primary Care Group and the Surrey Hants Border Health Trust);
Hosting Town Council web-sites; and
Working with Town and Parish Councils in exploiting ICT to facilitate improved channels of communication and seamless delivery of local services.
2.4.2 The Council is committed to the following national projects and initiatives:
NLPG - To date, Waverley has not begun to build a Local Property Gazetteer. However, funds have been made available in the 2001/2002 capital programme which will be used to purchase software and services to build the gazetteer to BS7666 standards. Work will begin on a data matching exercise in September 2001 and Waverley should be able to link to the NLPG by the target date of July 2002;
NLIS - The Local Land Charges service has begun a process of computerisation and data capture to better prepare it for inter-working with NLIS. The Council has currently signed up at Level 1 and will progress rapidly to a Level 2 connection during 2001. The Council will consider whether it might apply for LAMP funding to aid with progress to a Level 3 agreement;
Electoral Registers - The Council's Electoral Registration is about to be upgraded to hold addresses in BS7666 format and will link with the LLPG when this is completed in the second quarter of 2002; and
Electronic Data Collection (EDC) – The Council has volunteered to be part of the DTLR’s pilot EDC exercise to submit returns electronically.
2.5 Anticipated Costs, Benefits and Savings
2.5.1 Waverley Borough Council recognises that significant resources will have to be allocated over the next five years in order to deliver e-Government. However, although the Council also recognises that there are considerable benefits to be obtained for both the customer and service provider it has a concern that the potential cost savings of electronic service delivery will not accrue in the short term or even, possibly, the medium-term if the anticipated level of take-up by the public is not realised.
2.5.2 There will therefore be an indeterminate period of time when the levels of investment required for electronic service delivery will place considerable pressures on the Council’s capital and revenue budgets.
2.5.3 The figures given in this Statement represent the cost of delivering e-Government assuming that they would be borne entirely by Waverley Borough Council. It is, however, recognised that electronic service delivery offers new opportunities for partnership working and the potential for sharing resources and spreading the costs. The Council will therefore continue to seek partners in the public, private and voluntary sectors with whom to work and to seek other sources of funding, e.g. the Invest to Save Budget.
2.5.4 The Government’s proposal to provide some initial funding to local authorities is therefore extremely welcome. However, it should be noted that Waverley Borough Council is a “debt-free authority” and credit approvals would not, therefore, contribute to the cost of implementation.
2.6 Electronic Service Delivery Targets
2.6.1 The following list contains some examples (including snapshots of the current position) of the services where the proposed introduction or improvements to electronic service delivery will support the Council in achieving its 100% by 2005:-
ServiceCurrent PositionAnticipated Position
RevenuesStaff can answer telephone queries and effect changes immediately on IT systemsCustomers will be able to check their accounts on-line, notify change of address, receive electronic bills, submit electronic forms and make electronic payments
HousingStaff can answer telephone queries and effect changes immediately on IT systemsCustomers will be able to check rent balances on-line, request repairs, respond to consultation, submit forms and make electronic payments
EnvironmentStaff can answer many telephone queries and effect some changes on IT systemsCustomers will be able to report problems with waste collection etc. on-line, request services such as special collections and make applications for grants
e-PaymentsCustomers can make debit card payments for some services on-line and make credit or debit card payments by phoneCustomers will be able to make on-line or voice activated payments by credit or debit card for a wide range of services
Leisure & TourismMuch static information on leisure and recreational facilities is available on the web-site. An accommodation database on the web-site can be directly managed by Tourist Information staff. Bookings for leisure and tourism are processed manuallyBookings for leisure and tourism facilities can be made on-line (with a link to on-line payment facilities) or directly over the phone (with a digital payment facility)
e-Members 70% of members have an e-mail address. 40% of members have equipment supplied by the Council. Members can access committee documents via the web-site.All members have an e-mail address and IT facilities. Hard copy of committee docu-ments is reduced to a minimum. Members can access a wide range of Council information via secure internet connections. Members have access to bulletin boards and on-line conferencing facilities.
Mobile & out-of-office workingA small number of staff have remote access to the corporate network with limited access to back office systems. The Council's PABX does not support remote working. Use of handheld data collection devices is minimalThe infrastructure to support secure remote access to the network is in place to support flexible ways of working. The Council's PABX supports remote working and CTI. Widespread use of handheld devices supports the efficient deployment of mobile workers such as Building Control officers

Note: An Audit of Interactions will be undertaken by service managers to identify the ways in which the Council currently interacts with citizens in the provision of services and investigate the procedures, whether manual or IT based, which support service delivery. See para.3.3 below.

2.6.2 The County and District councils in Surrey have worked together successfully through such forums as the Surrey Chief Executives Group, the Information Age Champions and the IT Managers Group to identify potential areas of joint working in electronic service delivery. Over the past six months, various projects have been started which will support joined up working between local authorities. These have included:
The development of the Surrey extranet infrastructure which is an essential prerequisite for further projects;
The development of the Surrey portal which will provide a single citizen gateway to Surrey LA web-sites;
A partnership with ihavemoved.com to provide a single point of notification for change of address; and
An emergency planning project which has been awarded Pathfinder funding.

2.6.3. Waverley’s estimate for Best Value Performance Indicator 157 for 2000/01 was set at 15%. This represents a conservative estimate of the percentage of Waverley’s services delivered electronically. The true figure will not be known until the completion of the Audit of Interactions (see para.3.3). The Council’s own local performance indicator, which identifies the percentage of receipts that are processed entirely electronically, currently stands at 62%.

3. MILESTONES
3.1 Overview

3.2 Adoption of Waverley Public Access Strategy 3.3 Audit of Interactions Establishing the baseline for BVPI 157;
Revisiting the Council’s electronic service delivery targets;
Focussing resources on “quick wins”;
Identifying duplications, bottlenecks etc.;
Identifying potential for joint working and rationalisation of systems and procedures;
Identifying opportunities for standardisation; and
Quantifying scale of issues raised by electronic service delivery.
3.4 Assess Business Case for “Modern Ways of Working”
A project entitled ‘Modern Ways of Working’ which encompasses the ways Waverley uses its assets (primarily staff, ICT and office accommodation) more effectively has been approved. The aim is to provide a coherent and integrated approach to modernising how the organisation works. The customer focus aspect of the project has resulted in the development of the Council’s draft Public Access Strategy (see para. 3.2 above). 3.5 Staff Awareness Undertaking Best Value Reviews;
Developing service plans;
Entering into partnerships with other service providers; and
Addressing other aspects of the Modernising Agenda.
3.6 Skills Analysis 3.7 Replace Telephony Systems 3.8 Review Web Hosting Arrangements 3.9 Standards 4. TRANSITION
4.1 Managing the Introduction of e-Government
4.1.1 The Director of Finance has been identified as Waverley’s e-Champion at Management Board level and the Resources portfolio holder has responsibility for ICT and e-Government issues on the Council's Executive Committee.
4.1.2 The “Modern Ways of Working” officer group will be oversee the Council’s introduction of e-Government. The group will be responsible for:
Monitoring progress against local milestones and national targets;
Ensuring the integration of e-Government into the Council’s processes for implementing the other strands of the Modernising Agenda;
Undertaking the assessment of the business case for corporate areas of development;
Monitoring and reviewing corporate IEG milestones (e.g. Audit of Interactions, Skills Analysis);
Ensuring that external providers of the Council’s services are supportive of its vision for e-Government and that new and re-negotiated contracts with such providers enable the implementation of seamless electronic service delivery;
Maintaining the Council’s awareness of e-Government issues and initiatives and researching external developments;
Initiating surveys and reviewing the finding of others undertaken by the Council in order to identify categories of customers, specific target groups and the potential for the take-up of electronic service delivery;
Identifying areas for joint working and partnerships (in liaison with the Corporate Strategy Group);
Supporting the Fundamental Service Review teams in addressing the e-Government component of Best Value;
Facilitating and monitoring progress towards the achievement of Best Value Performance Indicator 157; and
Keeping the Council’s IEG Statement under constant review.
4.1.3 The Surrey Information Age Champions group, which reports to the Surrey Chief Executive Group, will manage the process of developing seamless delivery of local authority services.
4.2 Costs, Benefits and Savings
4.2.1 The “IEG Priorities Proforma” at Appendix 2 includes the estimated levels of investment required for the Council to achieve the Government’s target of 100% electronic service delivery by 2005. The figures shown in Appendix 2 are based on a number of assumptions including:
Best Value reviews of services or customer surveys identify the requirement to re-engineer each development area;
The business case demonstrates that the required level of investment to implement each development area will deliver the necessary qualitative improvements in service and/or the requisite efficiencies and savings in staff time, accommodation and other resources; and
That each area is financed and developed entirely from Waverley’s resources.
4.2.2 The estimated total investment identified at Appendix 2 is approximately 2.7 million, assuming the conditions listed above are satisfied in all areas of development. The degree to which this will impact upon the Council’s Capital Programme will be dependent upon a number of issues, the main ones of which are:
The setting up of partnerships in the electronic delivery of services;
The identification of alternative sources of funding; and
The receipt of funding from central Government. 4.2.3 As indicated above, cost/benefit analyses of the development areas identified have yet to be undertaken in detail and, at this stage, only the costs have been estimated. The Council recognises that e-Government is not about the introduction of an additional channel of service delivery but is about the re-engineering of the way in which services are delivered. However, there will inevitably be a period of parallel running and overlap that will delay the decommissioning of traditional channels of delivery and postpone the achievement of cost savings through gains in efficiency. The potential causes of delay include:
Slow take-up of some channels of electronic service delivery by the public;
The risk of social exclusion of those sectors of society who are not part of the “information revolution”; and
The lack of any national standards in security, e.g. encryption, authentication (digital signatures). 4.3 Partnership with Private & Voluntary sector
4.3.1 As identified elsewhere (para.2.4 above), the Council has already developed partnerships with a number of service providers in the private and voluntary sectors to produce joint electronic service delivery programmes. However, it recognises the potential to build upon this and extend partnership working into a number of other areas via its membership of the Surrey Information Age Champions Group and other local corporate initiatives.
4.4 Risk Assessment
4.4.1 Waverley, as part of the Surrey Information Age Champions (SIAC) Group, has produced a high-level risk analysis with respect to delivering seamless access to public services. This is shown at Annex 4 of Appendix 3. In addition to those identified by the SIAC Group a number of additional risks have been identified with respect to delivering e-Government at Waverley. These are shown at Appendix 4.
4.5 Skills Needs Analysis and Training
4.5.1 Waverley, as part of the SIAC Group, has undertaken an initial assessment to determine the main skills required with respect to delivering seamless access to public services. This is shown at para.32 of Appendix 3. Further work needs to be undertaken locally to determine how the Council will address the particular skills where gaps have been identified (paras.3.5 and 3.6 above).

5. CONCLUSION
5.1 This statement sets out Waverley Borough Council’s commitment to modern customer-focussed service delivery and recognises the potential of electronic service delivery in realising this commitment.
5.2 The version of this statement submitted to the DTLR by 31 July 2001 has been approved by the Council’s Management Board and is scheduled to go to the Executive Committee on 28th August 2001.
5.3 Finally, this statement is intended to be a dynamic document and will be subject to continuous re-assessment and revision, particularly in response to ongoing public consultation, the rolling programme of Best Value reviews and the outcomes of “milestones” such as the Audit of Interactions. Such revisions will be essential if the Council’s “Implementing Electronic Government Statement” is to respond the continuous change within the social, political, economic and technical environments and outline a viable approach to Waverley Borough Council achieving its vision for modern service delivery in 2005.