Working to transform the public service

Katherine Potter of the Forum discusses factors, including competition and customer choice, which affect planning for health authorities.

Great strides are being taken in public service to achieve more with less through effective resourcing and knowledge management. Everyone can learn from the following innovative approaches to engagement, with huge scope for taking this best practice into other areas of public service.

Why is the industry’s leading Customer Strategy & Planning Conference addressing health and public service this year? Because competition and customer choice are increasingly key issues within public service – not least in the NHS, where the landscape is fast changing. Services are now commissioned with limited budgets and go out to be competitively tendered.

As Richard Abdy, Workforce Scheduling & Planning Manager at the North East Ambulance Service explains, this attracts competition from across the public and private healthcare providers, attracting new players into the market, who offer different operating models. These, coupled with new processes and technologies, look to be more efficient and effective and are helping to introduce new approaches into public service.

Knowledge sharing & engagement
Take the NE Ambulance Service, finalists in this year’s Customer Contact Innovation Awards, who showed a great demonstration of how the drive of two individuals made a real difference. The way they have focussed on exceeding their goals and targets by making things easier for their staff, and achieved this by utilising the knowledge, tools and people they already have is something everybody can learn from.
With no budget, and in just three months, they developed a knowledge sharing system that is literally saving lives.

what does the LAMP provide?
The LAMP provides an accessible portal, on SharePoint, giving access to updates and operational tools ranging from workforce management news to a multi-media training hub. It is fully auditable and can provide insight from frequency of usage.

Creativity and the drive to deliver the best possible patient care has seen the system be embraced across the 350FTE control centre in three sites, with strong engagement ensuring the system is accurate and up-to-date.

By recognising the difficulties faced in front line roles, listening to feedback and making things easier, LAMP has helped the trust achieve £18,000 savings, raised service levels from 93 per cent to 98 per cent (against a national average of 91 per cent for 111 services) and increase quality.

Creating capacity for change
Ingeus UK, also finalists in the 2016 Innovation Awards, is another great example of new approaches to engagement. Ingeus has supported over 200,000 people into sustainable work since 2002, often overcoming significant barriers to employment. This publicly‑funded service delivered a change programme that has released resource to focus on what really matters.

By automating routine activity, which needed rigour and consistency, they created capacity for a virtual, centralised team of flexible people, who offer the human touch. In 2015, 92 per cent non-value added tasks were automated, including 30,000 sustainment payments, which account for 85 per cent of revenues. ‘Scott the bot’ gives a personal face to automation, those affected had a voice throughout the changes and the skills to deliver projects and technology were developed in-house, ultimately getting more from IT than anyone imagined was possible.

Crucially, the removal of routine tasks has freed individuals to truly embody the organisation’s values, with their solution‑focused approach to telephone support and passion for going the extra mile to make a difference to the lives of their clients.

An engagement journey
A final example comes from the NHS Business Services Authority, where turn-round times for applications are two days quicker and £180,000 in annual cost savings has been delivered.
Mark Dobson, Patient Services Manager, explained: “What’s been really successful is sharing resources between areas. People have got used to not just working in one area, it’s part of the job now.”

David Roberts, Contact Centre Services Manager, concluded that ‘minds have changed’, which must be the ultimate accolade for a successful innovation that has delivered outstanding results already.
These examples have all been taken from organisations working with the Forum, finalists in the Customer Contact Innovation Awards or presenting at Customer Strategy & Planning 2016 which will be held in Stratford upon Avon on 25-26 April 2016.

This event showcases organisations that are leading the way, making customer contact a pleasure for customers and contact centres a great place to work. The agenda and videos of previous conference presentations can be seen on The Forum website.

About the forum
As champions of best practice and professional development in customer contact, we are widely recognised as an innovative, inclusive and independent community of professionals who stimulate collaboration, continual learning and customer focus. Our team of independent experts offers advice and support, enabling our members to make a tangible impact in their organisation and show how the capability of each support function is fundamental to the business, through specialist accreditation, qualifications and standards benchmarking.

We provide opportunities for improvement, development and recognition in three specific communities of continuous improvement: Professional Planning Forum, Quality & Customer Experience Forum and the Data,
Analytics and Insight Forum.

We also run the Customer Contact Innovation Awards and Customer Strategy & Planning `conference, which will be held in Stratford upon Avon on 25-26 April 2016.

Further information
www.theforum.social

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