Peterborough City Council has been able to cut the workforce in its housing department by 30% after using new IT systems to find out where its employees were being unproductive.
A management reporting application revealed that 12% of visits to council-owned properties were wasted because tenants failed to turn up to give repair workers or other council representatives access to buildings.
Using mobile technology, council workers can now notify managers that they have failed to gain access, and quickly receive instructions to move on to another job.
The reporting software was also able to identify those tenants who repeatedly agreed to appointment times and then failed to keep them, enabling council officers to withhold services from tenants who have wasted staff time.
Peterborough decided to introduce the system as part of a package of measures aimed at turning around the performance of the council housing department.
The council's IT function undertook an analysis to work out what type of system it needed. The IT managers decided that a best-of-breed combination of three systems would deliver the real-time management reporting capability needed.
They opted for applications from Cognito, FSi Solutions and Xmbrace, with FSi being given the responsibility for delivering the system within three months.
The project cost £200,000, including software licences, databases and personal digital assistants for the repair staff.
Since the application went live, Peterborough has been equipping increasing numbers of repair workers with digital pens. The digital pens send information back to the application, updating it in real time.
The council said, "Part of our learning has been that without difficult decisions being made and occasional organisational pain, nothing changes. The biggest concern for most users is confronting the change and learning from it."
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