Local government faces the complex, long-term task of improving service against a backdrop of deep budget cuts. At the most recent VisionWare breakfast briefing, attendees had the opportunity to learn how smart use of data assets can play a vital role.
We’re always glad for the chance to meet and share information with our partners and customers, and our latest London briefing at The Shard was a great opportunity for local government leaders to gain insights from one of the most exciting transformation projects anywhere in the UK public sector: the London Borough of Enfield.
Paul Kearsey, Assistant Director of Transformation at Enfield, gave a frank overview of the achievements his team has made, as well as the issues they're finding most challenging as they seek to continue reducing cost while delivering improved services in one of London's most historically under-resourced areas.
To date Paul and his colleagues, facilitated in great part by strong leadership from the Enfield Corporate Management Board, has successfully delivered most of the £29 million in cost savings they need to achieve.
The savings have come not just from workforce redeployment but from the establishment of new hubs: centres of excellence which consolidate expertise in certain specialist areas like procurement, assessment for benefits and homelessness, and data analytics.
Paul was careful to explain to the audience, which included attendees from other London Boroughs and Unitary Authorities, that the scope of Enfield's change was dramatic, including a root-and-branch reorganisation which completely changed its operational model. The people management issue, rather than technology, can often be the most significant hurdle, one that Enfield staff are managing despite initial discomfort with "losing" their local data analyst, for example, to a bespoke hub.
"One thing our data analytics hub does is encourage members to articulate what they're trying to achieve, not simply to request the data," Paul said. "This is an important change, as it gets us away from the 'constant ask' and, ultimately, gets people much more motivated about the intelligence they really need.”
Drawing intelligence from data
Also speaking at the event was Tim Windsor, founder of itelligent-i, one of VisionWare's consulting partners, bringing expertise in data warehousing, the Azure platform and Microsoft Dynamics. Tim demonstrated how itelligent-i enables organisations to provide the right information to the right people at the right time – the last challenge often being the most pressing in local government, where the right information can take weeks to source, putting timely decision-making in jeopardy.
Tim gave an overview of the four areas where itelligent-i operates – supporting an agency’s operational insight, strategic insight, performance management and customer insight – based around smart implementation of IT infrastructure and business intelligence applications, including VisionWare’s master data management (MDM) solution.
Attendees had the opportunity to see how the VisionWare platform works at the heart of Enfield's new Connected account, which lets Enfield residents request services and track the progress of requests and applications online.
Tim explained that VisionWare’s role is to deliver a master data management service for Enfield, helping to ensure a single view of the citizen, many of whom may exist multiple times across numerous legacy databases, with different spellings or contact details.
"The data matching and merging that VisionWare performs means that it's then extremely easy for a data analyst to count how many people have a social care provision, for example, or a housing provision," Tim said. "Rather than data analysts spending their time working out whether Tim Windsor, Timothy Windsor and T Windsor are the same person, VisionWare does it all – that's the beauty of master data management."
Looking forward and building on progress
Paul Kearsey wrapped up the session with a summary of Enfield’s achievements to date, including savings targets realised, establishing four new centres of excellence and major software releases, and the continued investment that will be needed to deliver the final tranche of savings the Council must achieve. The half-day briefing finished with a presentation from VisionWare on how the solution had enabled these outcomes to be achieved.
On behalf of VisionWare, I'd like to thank all the presenters who made the time to join us in London and share their insights. If you work in the public sector and are undertaking transformation initiatives, particularly in areas like information management strategy, do get in touch if you think our next briefing session in Manchester could support your thinking.
Attend our next event
Our next breakfast briefing will take place on Wednesday 26th April at Manchester United FC, where a leading Local Authority will present how VisionWare has helped enable an accurate and trusted single view of the citizen, which forms the essential foundation for its service transformation.