Staffordshire Moorlands District Council has set up an intranet-based application to help the heads of front-line services meet their targets.
The council developed the application after central government set the Implementing Electronic Government targets in 2004. The council needed to give service heads a simple means of tracking their progress towards compliance with the IEG targets.
The application, called E-pro, is being used by each service head to monitor their service’s progress towards both the IEG targets and other initiatives proposed by central government.
Managing the number of central government-imposed targets is a growing challenge for local authority managers. Last December the Society of IT Management report - IT Trends - found that councils believe "too many initiatives" is the greatest obstacle to achieving the full potential of their technology-enabled projects.
Peter Dunkley, Staffordshire Moorlands' head of service for customer service, said, "In providing an immediate link to a living document and the supporting materials relevant to my responsibilities, the system has proved an invaluable tool in supporting the work we are doing in realising the priority service outcomes."
E-pro contains information to help meet each priority outcome. It includes direct links to Improvement and Development Agency guidance and the websites of any national projects that effect the delivery of the priority outcomes.
The project manager responsible for each priority outcome is clearly shown, as is the name of the project that will deliver that outcome.
The application will show whether a national project is key to the delivery of the priority outcome or supplemental.
Service heads can also see whether each project is on track. Projects that are on target are signposted green, those where more work is needed are signposted amber and projects that run a high risk of failing to meet the target are signposted red.
Progress on each project is shown in a part of the application called "benefits".
The benefits interface contains all the financial information that is needed to populate Staffordshire Moorlands' two key outputs: the Implementing Electronic Government form and the council's Annual Efficiency Statement.
Both statements are required by central government so that it can monitor the council's progress towards key targets.
The council developed E-pro in just eight weeks and it has contributed the business processes covered by E-pro to the local government customer relationship management national project, which is being run by the London Borough of Newham. Newham is looking to adopt E-pro's methodology for its own use.