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.

Midlothian Council – Midlothian Ranger Service

It is now widely recognised, as profiled by many individuals and groups, that the benefits of volunteering include both physical and emotional rewards for the volunteer, community and organisation.

The key aims set out in the Scottish Government’s Single Outcome Agreement for a Greener and Healthier Scotland inspired a rethinking of how the Ranger Service delivers outputs. In 2009 we recognised that by encouraging and deploying more involvement of volunteers and the third sector, the Service could improve its output and achieve improved community and environmental benefits.

Midlothian Ranger Service is a small service comprising 3 permanent staff, which changed its approach to delivering countryside services by taking a more sustainable and inclusive approach. We have adopted the council’s core values of coproduction and community capacity building by engaging with the volunteer community to develop and improve Midlothian’s environment and community.

We have various approaches to the provision of opportunities to volunteer which enable groups and individuals to work in the local and wider community at our countryside sites and beyond. Over the previous three years over 45 000 hours were contributed by volunteer, partners and community service workers to deliver key service outputs for conservation, recreation and biodiversity for the benefit of people and wildlife.


Renfrewshire Council – Adult Service Request Team (ASeRT)

The Adult Service Request Team (ASeRT) is an innovative approach where referrals for community-based adult services within Social Work and Health are dealt with at a single point of contact and distributed appropriately.  ASeRT has handled over 23,000 contacts since establishment in 2010, ranging from signposting information to referrals for community based health and social care services, from both professionals and the public.  The team uses a clear business process with a step-by-step guide which allows call handlers to deal appropriately with different types of referrals and provide clear timescales as to when referrals will be dealt with.  The team has a dedicated staff of experienced business support workers who are able to process referrals quickly, signpost referrals to the right place and in 13% of cases, service request are fully completed by ASeRT and need no further involvement with practitioners. Other opportunities to expand the services provided by the team are being considered.   The implementation of ASeRT has resulted in greater efficiency in call handling, faster transfers to professional workers and improved customer satisfaction.

Renfrewshire Council – BBC Procurement

Following the review of Scottish Public Sector Procurement by John McLelland in 2006, Renfrewshire Council transformed its Corporate Procurement Unit (CPU) from a fragmented administrative support section to a centralised strategic function, with the remit to deliver significant financial and non financial savings through smarter procurement strategy and practice.  The procurement reform project was initiated in 2009 to implement the recommendations from the procurement capability assessment (PCA). Renfrewshire Council now has the highest achieving PCA score of all local authorities and has delivered significant financial recurring savings of £2m in 2010/11 and a further £2m in 2011/12 contributing to a major transformation programme being undertaken by the Council.  The Building Better Communities (BBC) programme, a £103m+ investment, is a tangible example of this new approach in practice, delivering better value and a more efficient way of working. Its success is in the provision of a focussed approach to improving community facilities, enhancing and improving the quality of education, leisure and social care service provision across Renfrewshire.


Transforming Young Persons Services – East Renfrewshire Council

Young Persons Services (YPS) is the core service for youth work in East Renfrewshire. The service has undergone a radical transformation over the last six 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 six years the team has increased the number of young people it works with. Since 2006/07 there have been year on year increases in young people achieving recognised awards and certificates. Evidence also shows that YPS programmes have a profound impact on the lives of some of the most vulnerable young people in East Renfrewshire including 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 2004/05 by increasing the productivity and working practices of staff.


Transforming Services through Priority-based budgeting – Aberdeen City Council

Aberdeen City Council’s five year business plan and priority based-budget planning has created a dynamic organisation that is bucking the trend in the current economic downturn.  By developing a long term pioneering approach to the way we do business the Council is in an enviable position of long term financial stability developed with input and involvement of our public and voluntary sector partners, citizens and communities.  Further benefits of this approach include confidence in the Council’s long term business planning; the vision to create a Smarter City; confidence in the ability to deliver priority services for our citizens and the opportunity to anticipate and respond to longer term cost pressures.  A budget of £400,000 was required to deliver this transformation.  The savings that will be realised over the next five year period equate to £70 million or a return on investment of £175 for every £1 of the project budget spent.  Critical to the success of this project has been unprecedented and ongoing levels of community engagement with all of our stakeholders actively encouraged and invited to ‘Have Your Say’ in a process that has reinvigorated the Council’s reputation.


Programme Management Office – Aberdeen City Council

Aberdeen City Council has created a Programme Management Office to introduce co-ordinated project and programme management across the organisation.  The PMO has successfully created a new corporate ethos of implementing change in a structured way. It has managed the delivery of £16m of savings through three major corporate programmes and has turned around prior audited deficiencies in project management with a glowing internal audit from Price Waterhouse Coopers.


Clackmannanshire Business Support Model – Clackmannanshire Council

During 2010 the Council embarked upon an ambitious programme to centralise its administrative service. After detailed consultation and planning a new Business Support service of 105 administration and clerical staff was established. This was expanded in early 2011 to include administrators in dispersed offices, and February 2012 administration staff in secondary schools moved over. Discussions are under way to include administrative staff working across Clackmannanshire and Stirling shared services.  Business Support now provide a comprehensive range of support services, that is flexible and responsive to current and future customer needs. The success of Business Support has been highlighted in both customer and staff surveys. Significant financial savings have also been achieved.


Ending Homelessness in West Dunbartonshire – West Dunbartonshire Council

A strategic initiative “Ending Homelessness in West Dunbartonshire” has had a significant impact on the causes and consequences of homelessness within West Dunbartonshire.  An area that had the highest homelessness rate in Scotland has seen homeless presentations fall by 36% over the period of the initiative. The innovative approach underpinned by a strong preventative ethos set out to change ‘hearts and minds’ about homelessness and has heralded positive outcomes for both individuals and communities. This bold and ambitious approach saw West Dunbartonshire become one of the first local authorities to meet the Scottish Governments 2012 homelessness target and has also resulted in delivering positive outcomes for households experiencing housing crisis. The initiative is delivering excellence, due to the high level of engagement from partner agencies and service users and the ability to link our strategic aims and the need to deliver services to our customers which meet their needs and aspirations.