A Redesigned Council - Redesign projects produce positive results
26th October 2017
Redesign of the Council means it will be more open-minded to new ways of delivering services, more commercially-minded to raise income to sustain services and jobs across the region and more community-minded to involve more people in Council decisions and community-run services.
One way of being more open-minded is to undertake reviews of services to identify where blockages and delays occur, to cut out waste and improve services for people using them. As part of the Redesign programme, a number of projects were selected for review using an approach which involves "Lean" principles.
"Lean" is a recognised methodology which means improving services by creating more value for customers with fewer resources. Training in “Lean” processes has been given to staff across Council services in order to develop in-house expertise in this approach to problem solving.
Two projects have already delivered savings of £120k and significant wider benefits through the redesign and improvement of the HR Occupational Health referral process and a redesign of the Bulky uplift service.
The HR Occupational Health project reduced the referral process from 57 steps to 7, has freed up resource in Human Resources to better support services, has reduced the time taken from initiating referral through to the employee being assessed and advice being provided to the manager. This has reduced costs by £62k.
The Bulky Uplift project has reduced time taken to process requests, improved the bulky uplift service for customers, extending the service over Christmas and New Year, including reducing the notice required for an uplift from 48 to 24 hours and making the whole service more direct and responsive. The changes have resulted in £57k savings being delivered.
The Programme comprises projects across a broad range of service delivery, and currently includes: the billing for commercial waste collected, recruiting fostering and adoptive parents; booking rooms and facilities for community groups and others to use; street cleansing; booking staff training courses; allocating resources for additional support needs in schools; and administration for wrap around care in schools. New areas to review are being identified by staff and Councillors.
Convener of the Council and Chair of the Redesign Board, Bill Lobban said: “A focus for the Redesign Board has been to learn from recognised best practice and successful processes elsewhere. The Lean reviews are starting to deliver some exciting results, producing some substantial savings and improvements to services. This has been helped by using tried and tested methodology, together with fresh eyes on problem solving, with staff themselves at the centre of redesign. I am looking forward to seeing benefits from further project reviews.”
Leader of the Highland Council, Margaret Davidson has moved to reassure communities about forthcoming budget decisions. She said: "No decisions will be made until the Council meets on 15 February.
At Highland Council work has been ongoing for some months to prepare a Revenue and Capital Budget for 2018/19 and beyond, with the anticipation of a significant cut to available funds. The Scottish Government's proposed grant settlement was announced on 14 December 2017.
Around £3 million of funding has been agreed for a ground-breaking Highland project that could transform the lives of people with complex health needs as part of the Inverness and Highland City Region Deal. The business case for the ‘FitHome' assisted living project was approved in November last year with £3m funding from the Scottish Government.
An article in the Press and Journal today 9th January 2018 highlights the cuts in staffing levels across Scottish councils with Highland being one of the highest. In 2009 Highland had 9953 Full-time Equivalent Staff and in 2017 it had dropped by 21% to 7838.
Highland Council Trading Standards team has recently seen an increase in scams targeting Highland businesses. The most common scams reported by businesses relate to marketing and publishing but other frauds such as those involving demands for payment for unsolicited goods sent to businesses (such as ink cartridges which were never ordered) are also on the rise.
Cognitive improvements to be included in Blue Badge scheme The disabled person's parking badge pilot, which was launched in April 2016, has been made permanent by the Scottish Government. The eligibility criteria were revised and extended under a pilot to allow carers and relatives of people who pose a risk to themselves or others in traffic to apply for a disabled person's parking badge, provided they meet the criteria.
People looking to pick up a New Year bargain in the sales on the internet, by mail order or on the high street are being encouraged by The Highland Council's Trading Standards team to be aware of their consumer rights and to stay safe online from scams and fake websites that try to dupe inexperienced online shoppers trying to buy a bargain. Consumers have extra protection when they shop online.
The British Hospitality Association secured a major victory today (21 December2017) as the Scottish Government confirmed that any plans for a ‘tourist tax' in Edinburgh - or any other Scottish cities - are firmly off the table. The BHA has been campaigning consistently for over six years against the implementation of any such additional and uncompetitive tax and is delighted that the Scottish Government has recognised our reservations.
Chief Executive of The Highland Council, Steve Barron said: "The Council is continuing to do all it can to support employees who lost their jobs following the change in contract for the processing of recycled waste. Evanton-based William Munro Construction laid off the staff after Highland Council transferred a recycling contract.
The Highland Council has successfully prosecuted a food business after discovering unsafe hygiene practices in the transportation of food. An investigation by officers of the Council's Environmental Health Team discovered that N E Meats Ltd of Newcastle had been transporting and delivering foods from the North of England to the Highlands without any temperature control measures.
[Printer Friendly Version]