Our Service Innovation and Improvement category recognises partnerships, departments, or teams who have successfully changed their processes and/or developed a new approach to an existing problem. This change will have led to tangible service improvement and a positive impact on the target audience, whether internal or external. Winners have demonstrated sound approaches and techniques in the way that the need for the initiative was identified, planned, implemented and monitored. A strong focus on partnership working has been achieved, as has value for money. The projects have also demonstrated real, quantifiable results in the way that services have been delivered in relation to the expressed needs and wishes of the users .  Winning projects have also been pioneering, and are delivering lasting improvement, with strong potential for replication in other public services.

Strathclyde Fire & Rescue: A Telecare approach to managing fire risk in East Renfrewshire

East Renfrewshire Council (ERC) and Community Health & Care Partnership (CHCP) provides a Telecare and Community Alarm service to approximately 1700 service users.  Around 400 live in sheltered accommodation with hard wired smoke detection linked; via the warden call system, to ‘Safety Net’ the Council’s call monitoring centre.  Of the remaining 1300, only 2.5% (approximately 30) had been provided with a radio linked smoke detector as part of their Telecare/Community Alarm package.

This match funded, joint partnership initiative was devised to retrospectively fit every Telecare/ Community Alarm service user’s home with the provision of a radio linked smoke detector ensuring potentially devastating fire accidents are detected at the earliest possible moment.  The Service Level Agreement (SLA) which supports the partnership also makes provision for joint staff training in the areas of ‘fire safety in the home’, ‘Telecare awareness’, and ‘emergency call handling’.

One of the key elements of the initiative is not just that a gap in Service provision has been identified and addressed, but that the East Renfrewshire CHCP has made a commitment that all future Telecare installations include linked smoke detection as standard.

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Highland Council: Corporate Improvement Programme

The programme is a Council wide initiative aimed at delivering a new operating model for the council and significant savings.  To date £13.8m of cashable savings have been delivered and the programme is on target to deliver at least £4.2m more.   The approach uses solid best practice combined with strong leadership to deliver efficiency.

The outputs of the diagnostic project coincided with the worsening economic position so that not only was there a rationale for a programme to manage the 9 outline projects    but there was a sense of urgency.  This urgency was captured by the senior management team of the council and a decision made to commission a new Corporate Improvement Team to deliver the programme.

The Programme is a major council-wide initiative focused on a transformation agenda with the ultimate objectives of increasing efficiency whilst maintaining staff and customer satisfaction.

Download more information: SII 12 Corporate Improvement Programme

Fife Council: Social Work Access Project

The Social Work Access Project was set up under the auspices of the Customer Management Programme with the aim of improving access to Social Work services to meet ever-growing demand.  Set against a backdrop of increasing customer expectations, anticipated demographic changes, unprecedented budget reduction, and reducing resources, the project aimed to identify and prioritise those contact types relating to Social Work which made the biggest impact on large volumes of customers while simultaneously improving areas of poor customer service and speed of delivery.  Supported by improved and standardised processes, a single contact number, together with better information on the web, its aim was to maximise efficiencies and deliver consistent service to clients and referrers alike.  As a result of this project, all new Social Work business now comes via the Contact Centre while, at the same time, providing a triage process at first point of contact thereby freeing up professional and para-professionals’ time from handling basic telephone enquiries.   Our Customer Service Advisors and new Social Work Response Team, co-located in the Customer Contact Centre, are now able to offer customers a broad range of services many of which may emanate from a single social work enquiry.

Download more information: SII 33 Social Work Access Project

The City of Edinburgh Council: Web Services Project

The Web Services project revolutionised the council’s website and intranet, creating a modern, professional, accessible and customer focused web presence in just 18 months. The sites have delivered a significantly improved customer experience, greater usability and accessibility and have also saved the Council money. Sustainable governance processes have been put in place to foster a web-focused culture, ensure standards of content and customer experience are maintained and sites can be continually improved to incorporate future innovations and new technologies which support the necessary web standards. The website received a top 4-star ranking in SOCITM’s 2011 Better Connected review ofUKcouncil websites, the first inScotlandand one of only 9 in theUK.  In addition, the project approach was recognised in 2010 as an example of best practice consumer engagement by Consumer FocusScotland.

Download more information: SII 42 Web Services Project

Aberdeen City Council: AskHR

AskHR is a new HR Service Centre for Aberdeen City Council that delivers cost effective and high quality services.  It does this by supplying a streamlined and improved transactional HR and payroll service for all our internal customers. AskHR is a key element of a shared services model for the Council’s HR service, introduced in response to the business needs of the organisation. Under the brand name AskHR, the HR Service Centre has become the first point of contact for customers looking to access a full range of HR and payroll services, queries and requests for HR support as a “one stop shop”. Real improvements in efficiency savings and customer service have been achieved as a result of the project.

Download more information: SII 06 AskHR

Aberdeenshire Council: Improving School Transport Safety

Following the tragedies involving two pupils being fatally injured on Aberdeenshire’s roads after alighting school buses in 2008, Aberdeenshire Council along with private partners developed Bus Stop! – an education campaign promoted in schools and through the media to increase the safety awareness of young people using public transport. In tandem with a number of other trials and demonstration projects launched by the Council to improve the safety of school transport services, Bus Stop! has contributed to increased research and knowledge in this emotive, high profile topic area; research which has been picked up and disseminated nationwide by the Scottish Government.

Download more information: SII 21 Improving School Transport Safety

East Renfrewshire Council: Transforming Young Persons Services

Young Persons Services (YPS) is the core service for youth work inEast Renfrewshire. The service has undergone a radical transformation over the last five years using the EFQM-based ‘How Good is our Community Learning & Development (CLD)? 2’ framework to improve service quality, efficiency and impact on young people.  Over the past five years the team has consistently increased the number of young people it works with. Almost all young people stay involved in YPS programmes until the end or they achieve their goals. Since 2006/07 there have been year on year increases in young people achieving recognised awards and certificates. Evidence shows that YPS programmes have a profound impact on the lives of some of the most vulnerable young people inEast Renfrewshireincluding improving employment, health and wellbeing outcomes. The service has managed to achieve these improvements in performance despite costing less to run today than any year since 2005/06 by increasing the productivity and working practices of staff.

Download more information: SII 37 Transforming Young Persons Services