t-Gov Expo 2007

Over the coming years, local government faces a moment of truth. The financial environment continues to tighten, recent reviews are all calling for a major reshaping of public services and even local citizens are demanding change. With the recent LGWP, Varney Review and t-Gov strategy all pointing in the same direction, it is clear that local authorities need to embrace the idea that real transformational change can bring significant benefits to themselves and their citizens.
    
Against this background of change, last month’s t-Gov EXPO Spring in London (organised by Revolution Events) tried to answer some of the most critical questions currently being faced by the vast majority of English local authorities. These included:
Q. How can LAs deliver year-on-year savings while also driving up service quality?
Q. What are the practical implications of the shared services agenda?
Q. How can core business processes be redesigned to ensure better value for citizens?
Q. What pointers can HM Government’s CIO offer with regard to the broader transformation agenda?
Q. How can local government apply ‘customer-centric’ thinking from the private sector?

Conference highlights
The content of t-Gov EXPO was designed by local authorities for local authorities specifically to educate, stimulate debate and facilitate experience sharing around a number of key issues. A comprehensive programme of thought-provoking keynotes, expert masterclasses and real-life case studies aimed to provide inspiration, practical advice and numerous examples of best practice for LA executives that are rising to the challenge of transforming local services.
    
On Day One, John Suffolk, CIO to HM Government, provided a high-level view on the “eye-watering scale and complexity” of the UK public sector and the remarkable advances that have been made in adopting e-government techniques over the past four years. These included:

  • Over 20 per cent increase in the use of e-Procurement
  • One-stop-shops and the use of CRM reducing contact numbers by up to 90 per cent
  • 98 per cent of customer-facing services now e-enabled
  • A 700 per cent increase in payments made via council websites
  • 110,000 electronic planning applications now received every year

Several initiatives were held up as excellent examples of local government transformation in action, such as the ‘Worcestershire Hub’ - a joined up service created by Worcestershire County Council and its six District Councils to provide an integrated ‘one-stop-shop’ for public access and save £1.4 million per year. Other examples of best practice included Suffolk County Council’s public-private partnership with BT, using their Contact Central eCRM solution to resolve incoming public queries more efficiently, and Glasgow City Council’s online ‘Fuel Zone’ initiative, encouraging school children to eat a healthier diet and facilitating cashless catering.
    
HM’s CIO also used his session to outline some of the key challenges ahead for local government, such as:

  • A doubling of LA efficiency targets to 5 per cent year-on-year
  • Transforming the face of public services, with a radical new design for responsive customer access
  • Sharing services, assets and information on an unprecedented scale
  • Reshaping the relationship between citizen and council and between local and central government
  • Greater powers and responsibilities for local authorities In leading and shaping places
  • Using new technologies and techniques to reform the efficiency and effectiveness of government

On Day Two, Lucy Neville-Rolfe, executive director at Tesco plc (and previously a member of the Senior Civil Service in 10 Downing Street, the Cabinet Office and other government departments) offered her own unique perspective on the differences between the public and private sectors, their attitudes to customer service and what the two sectors can learn from each other. Some of her key tips for local authorities included:

  • Work to understand your customers and act on your findings
  • Allow for changing expectations and lifestyles
  • Make simplicity one your major objectives
  • Motivate and trust your managers

Additional highlights of the extensive two-day conference programme included keynote sessions from Sir Nicholas Montagu, former chairman of the Inland Revenue (voted European Business Speaker of the Year in 2006), speaking about his role in leading a wide range of transformational change projects, plus local government leaders such as Sir Robin Wales (Mayor of the London Borough of Newham), Peter Rogers (chief executive of Westminster City Council), Alan Jones (chief executive of Somerset County Council) and Stephen Baker (chief executive of Suffolk Coastal District Council).
    
t-Gov EXPO also incorporated the UK’s largest showcase of local authority service providers, including major names such as Microsoft, Government Connect, O2, Technology One, ntl:Telewest Business, Patech  Solutions / Oracle Corporation, Activa Solutions, Mouchel Parkman, Northgate Information Solutions, T-Mobile, DigiTV – Looking Local, Easynet, IronPort Systems, Esker, Capita Software Services, Hyperwave, Snap Surveys, CAPS Solutions / ESRI (UK) and many, many more.

Improvements for 2007
Building on feedback from the last two years, the organisers of t-Gov EXPO, Revolution Events, introduced a range of new initiatives designed to make the delegate experience even more productive and enjoyable for 2007. All Masterclasses and focused breakout sessions were held in ExCeL’s state-of-the-art suite of dedicated conference rooms, the exhibition and networking areas were more closely integrated and easier to navigate, and all delegates benefited from free Wi-Fi access throughout the duration of the event.
    
These improvements were very positively received by delegates to the event, helping to provide a uniquely enjoyable and educational forum for all the latest developments in transformational local government. More than 85 per cent of the delegates rated the two days as ‘Good’ or ‘Excellent’ overall, with particular praise for the general organisation and management of this year’s event.For more information
If you would like to find out more visit: www.tgovseries.org.uk  

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