Podcast: How to save £18 million in four years

In 2020, Dorset Council set themselves the target of saving £18million by 2024. This they aim to achieve by following a four year, 38 project, transformation plan.

The plan was in place pre-pandemic. And aimed to reduce the complexity of the 2019 merger of one county and five district and borough councils into the unitary Dorset Council. The 38 projects focused on removing effort, cost, and process duplication, and on delivering a modern omni channel experience via a new customer platform. Then the pandemic hit.

But rather than reduce focus, Dorset doubled down – even expanding – their transformation plan:

“The can-do approach from the first week of the pandemic when we moved 2,554 employees to work online was astonishing. If I said to them the week before, in a week’s time you’re going to be working online, they would have said you’re mad.” – Matt Prosser, Chief Executive, Dorset Council

Delivering on the plan will enable Dorset to use modern technology and a set of consistent processes to improve efficiency and the focus on delivering frontline services to their 380,000 residents.

“We’ve changed models and systems and processes to be customer focused, rather than implementing the monolithic systems that meant the organisation or customers had to adapt to them. We’re working within the Digital Declaration and low code revolution.”

This transformation drive will not only save the council – and allow them to redirect – significant budget, it allows them to focus on other critical macro and micro challenges. Challenges such as operating at a lower cost with a reduced carbon footprint. Or using evidence intelligence to direct decisions to deliver improved value. Or tackling digital exclusion to reduce social disadvantage.

“There is a chance for us to be commercial with a social purpose.”

Dorset is a great example of how, with the right approach, transformation can not only reduce the impact of budgetary constraints, but also allow you to address other key issues. For any authority striving to deliver on their own transformation agenda, Dorset’s Chief Executive has this advice:

“Listen and involve citizens, your elected members, and staff at every state. They’ll work with you to help shape things that work.”

Successful transformation is the culmination of people, processes, and technology to solve common challenges. It is not a single project. Dorset Council’s Chief Executive reveals how they are using their programme to design services that best meet the needs of citizens, in this 12-minute podcast.

https://www.hso.com/en-gb/resource/dynamics-matters/#ep60