Last week we hosted a Local Government Mobile Working 2014 Workshop in London.
The focus was very much on ‘Workstyle’ changes, reinforcing previous events which highlighted the need to pay attention to culture change now that the technology is in place to support new ways of working.
Copies of the presentations are available on the website for registered public sector members, but here is a round up of what stood out for me.
Wiltshire kicked off the day with an excellent overview of their large-scale transformation project, and how they managed to successfully bring together 32 service areas to create one of the largest authorities in the UK today. Julie Anderson-Hill told how they designed buildings as hubs to provide an array of services for the public (e.g. Health and Leisure) and hot desks for officers.
Key messages were:-
Leadership and culture
- Focus on delivering services to communities to reduce the inevitable tensions that may arise from such a large-scale programme. Wiltshire created a Community Operational Board with representatives from the communities to drive and shape individual community requirements.
- Leadership and culture are the fundamental issues. Spend time establishing what the culture is like at the outset. Clear aims and vision from the Leader drives the culture.
- Every member of staff was inducted in systems thinking to enable them to see how they impact on the customer journey. However, when going through the systems thinking journey, still look to gain quick wins along the way.
- The building and technology are enablers. In their hub they designed in an atrium space with free Wi-Fi which elicits lots of public and officer use e.g. 6th formers, business meetings, and mobilised police officers. They also provided a restaurant environment for citizens to meet officers with a selection of informal and formal meeting areas.
- Wiltshire work to a 2:1 officer to desk ratio model with a clear desk policy facilitated via Facilities Management. This is strictly policed to encourage people not to own a desk. They now have ambassadors within teams who are involved in not just highlighting issues, but coming up with solutions.
Andy Spurway talked about the complexity in joining 5 different networks to enable the Wiltshire programme to take effect and highlighted how mobile working was important to meet the reduced building capacity.
Interestingly, the outsourced IT service was brought back in house and looked to simplify systems and drive out duplication. This required a complete overhaul:
- The first thing they did was give all users access to Windows 7 via laptops. “Everyone is now a home worker!” said Andy.
- A number of Microsoft applications were then rolled out. Some were phased, some were ‘big bang’ approach (for example MS Lync).
- They have one centralised, consolidated database platform – SQL server with a centralised system management centre.
- It was all about getting officers’ laptops to be their whole office – backed up with full home worker kits to avoid health & safety issues.
- They introduced Wifi telephone integration, secure printing, gcsx/psn compatible.
- Partnership working with the Police was enabled by sharing systems and devices.
- The council website is on MS Azure, separate to the council network for independence, and the ‘My Wiltshire’ APP is available for officers and the public (design once, use many ways springs to mind). This allows logging of street scene issues and links to the back office.
When asked about provision for Members, Andy explained Members have laptops and BYOD access etc. the same. Their device type is currently being reviewed. It was of note that they have 98 councillors of different profiles and training was key.
Delegates received a very interesting presentation from Enfield’s Infrastructure Architect, Eric Hill. Eric highlighted the complexities involved when trying to keep an infrastructure up to date with IT advances, and matching operating systems with devices to meet current and future business and security requirements and very importantly, the user experience.
When combining current and future needs with what is available and what is or may be available shortly, at what stage do you plump for a decision? Eric’s overall advice is “It’s a long and winding road” so you need to build an agile and flexible strategy.
Highlights noted from Eric’s presentation about Enfield’s approach were:
- Their LEANER programme focussed on: Less bureaucracy, Eliminate waste, Automate what we can, New ways of working, Excellent staff and services, Reduce overheads.
- Mobile working has to have a business case for each service to justify the need and inform prioritisation.
- Using MS Lync.
- Voice calls and instant messaging are being combined for liaising with third parties.
- Desktop sharing for remote support.
- Document collaboration needs to be available.
- No one size fits all re: device type and application requirements. They used TotalMobile enterprise to enable different approaches to meet differing requirements including offline solutions and used Biztalk for integrating solutions into TotalMobile.
- CSG guidance slowed their plans for a BYOD policy and this still remains a challenge.
- They have used Samsung Note 2’s, which allow signature capture.
- Their most recent business case is for electronic papers for members, to reap savings on printing, distribution and admin costs.
- Using the Modern Gov App, but there is a conflict in that their Microsoft platform is unable to support use of iPads. They decided to stay with the Microsoft application.
- A lot of time has been spent reviewing different device types to suit the user needs, their compatibility with current infrastructure and meeting CESG guidelines. IT User testing completed in Dec 13 and a Member decision is due imminently re: pilot devices.
- The mobile working rollout will commence in 2014. Prioritisation was informed by team size, potential for savings, quick wins and readiness for change.
Any authority currently considering devices could learn a lot from what Enfield have been through as they have gained much knowledge and experience in this field.
Alison Braithwaite provided a very frank and honest account of Surrey’s ‘Make a Difference’ Programme. This commenced in 2009 and is almost complete, resulting in large-scale savings over 10 years on office rationalisation. Main learning points included:
- Leadership needs to support and empower people.
- Strong leadership drives momentum.
- Provide a strong coaching and leadership programme. Invest in your biggest resource – staff.
- Empower, trust, coach, and ‘live’ the values.
- Non-supporters – need to have hard conversations with them and their management teams.
- Down sizing accommodation meant some people had to travel further to work, which drove changing ways of working but it was noted that they needed to engage with users early on where this happened.
- County, district and borough council staff now work together, co-located. Police are also co-located. This fosters good working relationships and understanding of each other’s roles.
- Help people to think differently so we can address future requirements.
- It will only happen if the people change!
- Put in place training for coaching and leadership development to support managers in coaching their teams to work differently, and to work differently themselves.
- Surrey currently have Smarter Working Managers who work across the directorates, supporting, encouraging and ensuring people don’t fall back to old ways.
- Provide the tools and support but give autonomy where this adds value. Surrey allocated teams a space based on the desk ratio but left it up to them to organise their space how they wanted it (with support if required).
- Change policies if they need refreshing.
- Providing laptops and skill sets to officers was very enabling.
Learn and adapt as you go along
- Learn from first iterations – their year three moves were a better experience than year ones. Continue to learn!
- Higher building utilisation causes car-parking issues! Beware!
- Is there really an end to the process?
An engaging ‘double act’ was provided by Jackie Whitney and Stephanie Maxwell, highlighting how the project governance and the ‘people side’ needed to work hand in hand for their council-wide transformation programme in Wokingham (which is the lowest funded unitary authority in the country).
Their transformation programme evolved from a property and cost driven transformation with a tight timescale due to a looming building lease renewal. Key learning points are below.
- This was key to success.
- Prior to the transformation programme, the organisation wasn’t mature in project governance terms. The governance put in place to deliver subsequently received an ‘outstanding’ rating from internal audit and is now the ‘blueprint’ for future projects.
Changing the culture
- Ultimately they recognised it was a culture change programme.
- Wokingham did a cultural web analysis 3 years ago using a slightly adopted model, then identified the new required pattern and used some of those things in how they rolled out the project.
- They piloted new ways of working on the lower ground floor (mostly Resources staff). These workers then became project champions.
- The Resources Director was the project sponsor so there was clear direction for it to happen in this location.
Keep it simple
- They introduced a simplified work style policy with just two ‘types’: fixed or smart worker (admin were fixed).
- Had just three high level principals: a 2:1 desk ratio; only Directors would have their ‘own’ offices; Reduce storage by 50%.
Keep it personal
- For example, they took a personal approach to identifying issues rather than just requesting spreadsheets being completed.
- Wrapped support around the programme, provided induction.
- Had the right people around the table.
- Did a lot of listening to people. Face to face compulsory sessions with managers on how to manage remote staff.
- Provided E-learning for staff.
- Understood what business applications people need.
- Let teams decide on how to manage themselves to ensure seamless service delivery.
When considering what they would do differently, having a supporting policy in place, and more engagement with members were highlighted.
In addition to the Local Authority peer presentations, Tony Acharia from Qualys provided a session highlighting the IT vulnerabilities prevalent today and what to do about them. One delegate summed this up well on their feedback form: “Very interesting and also frightening! Excellent overview of the increasing threats in cyberworld that face us all. Burying our heads in the sand is not an option – certainly a session that should be promoted by central government without, I hasten to add, scare mongering!”
Overall, a very interesting and enjoyable day.