In 2004, the London Borough of Hammersmith & Fulham (H&F) was an ‘excellent’ CPA-rated Council. However, the Council recognised that despite this rating, there were opportunities to improve further, in particular through the provision of more ‘joined-up’ services.
H&F looked for a partner who could grow with them over time, and help them to minimise risk, maximise the commercial leverage, and create the platform for transformed service delivery – and with it the means to design, implement, manage, and continuously improve.
H&F was also looking to reduce the Council Tax paid by its residents, creating the challenge of finding a way to fund the strategic investment necessary to continue to improve service provision to customers in a cost neutral way – any investment would need to come from savings (or earnings) generated, so any contract would need to have a level of efficiency savings built in as well.
The Council evaluated a number of options for the ICT Service, from complete outsourcing to a management buy-out. After a thorough and collaborative bid process, Agilisys was selected as the Council’s Strategic Partner, under an incremental partnership, including a contractual commitment to deliver £27m savings over the contract lifetime.
Agilisys and H&F created a Joint Venture Company (JVC), called the Hammersmith & Fulham Bridge Partnership (HFBP), as the vehicle to deliver transformational change and savings. The JVC built on the existing innovative Council-Agilisys strategic partnership to combine the Council’s high customer satisfaction rating for its IT service, history of facilities management, and leading support for other local authorities, with Agilisys’ strong commercial and marketing skills. Agilisys holds an 80% shareholding in HFBP, with the Council holding the remainder, with a profit share on new business and cost savings. There is a robust performance management framework in place, with a commitment to maintaining and improving service levels.
Agilisys and the Council rapidly established a true collaborative partnership – in fact, one that has been held up as an example of best practice. Although the establishment of a shared service JVC was perhaps more complex than originally anticipated, by setting up a joint team from the start, complete with appropriate legal and financial expertise, we were able to have the JVC up and running on time. The JVC now delivers IT services to the Council with improved career prospects for staff and higher customer service levels – including extended hours support.
The partnership has so far delivered £38m of savings for H&F, helping H&F reduce their council tax by at least 3% for 4 years in a row whilst delivering new and award winning services to residents.
One of the first projects HFBP completed was the award winning Customer Access Strategy, which created the underlying architecture to improve and extend customer services and business efficiency through re-engineering processes and radically reshaping the council’s former departmental structure.
HFBP have also developed MyAccount, an innovative award winning approach to customer self-service. MyAccount allows residents to combine their access to council services into one single sign-on account, not only making it easier for residents to manage their own interactions with the council, but also reducing the level of back office support required, delivering efficiencies for both customers and the council.
Within the council, HFBP delivered the SmartWorking programme, enabling staff to work more flexibly across the council’s buildings by enabling people to access their own desktop from PCs across the council or from home, and to share and edit documents in virtual meetings, reducing the need for meeting rooms and delivering process efficiencies. As a result of this programme of change, the council were able to reduce their estate, delivering savings of £2.2m.
Read more about how we worked with Hammersmith & Fulham to transform the online experience for residents.