Hackney reaches halfway point on route to single service centre

Smart projects: Borough's four-year project aims to transform delivery of services

The London Borough of Hackney has reached the halfway stage in its four-year project to deliver all services through a single front office.

When the Service First business transformation is completed in 2008/2009, the council will operate from a single service centre building equipped with new IT systems.

A key part of the project is reviewing each of the council service's business processes, which will be overhauled before migrating to new front-office systems.

The council said, "The single front office will require new ways of working. Staff will need to change their behaviour not just towards their customers, but also towards each other if silos are to break down."

Hackney has set up a separate workstream to train employees in the skills needed to deliver services through the single front office.

The project is expected to be revenue neutral over time. The investment made to transfer the services will be recovered through reduced operating costs.

The council is keen to encourage users to adopt new channels to access services. "We anticipate that demand will increase when access is easier, so we will be initiating a campaign to encourage telephone customers to use the website," a council representative said.

The council's waste collection service has already been migrated to the new front office. In making the move, the service has changed its targets. Bulky waste items are now removed within 48 hours rather than on certain dates throughout the month.

Council officers have used a survey, customer feedback, mystery shopping and Hackney's own data to learn more about how its revamped services will be used.

It said, "Use of council services is not uniformly spread among the population, so we want to ensure through customer segmentation that those people who use mostof our services are those whobenefit most from the changes to provision."

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