The UK government has published a new improvement initiative for its local councils. Called ‘Business Improvement Package (BIP)’, it utilises tools and methods that will be familiar to the Six Sigma and Lean professional.
The initiative is one of the key commitments of last year’s Local Government White Paper, Strong and prosperous communities, charging Communities and Local Government to publish an integrated package of improvement tools covering business process improvement, technology and collaboration – a ‘Business Improvement Package’ – early in 2007. It urges local authorities to deliver leaner operational management to reduce inefficiencies, join up services and adopt a customer-led service culture. The BIP is designed to help local authorities and their partners improve services by adopting new methods, including processes and tools similar to DMAIC, Visual Process Mapping and Pugh Matrix.
Local Government Minister, Mr Phil Woolas, said: “Everyone wants to see improvements to their local services, however in order to deliver the transformed services and value for money that communities want, local authority leaders will have to challenge traditional methods of delivery.”
Communities and Local Government are holding a series of regional events with local authorities over the coming weeks to help shape the development of the business improvement materials that will be made available through the BIP during 2007/08.
The BIP will deliver a national support infrastructure to help build local authority business improvement capability and to join-up relevant work across government. A key part of this involves raising awareness nationally of innovative local authority developments that are already providing better, more efficient services.
A spokesman for BIP said: “Process improvement is critical to the goal of citizen-focused improvement. Through the review and reshaping of the way public services are provided and the reduction in the number of tasks which do not benefit a customer, front line and corporate support services can be enhanced. Public sector organisations who have undertaken business process improvement have already demonstrated how to eliminate low value activity, free up of front-line staff, improve information management and cut transaction costs. Local authorities have also secured quality and cost improvements of up to 20% through the adoption of service redesign process improvement methods.”
BIP forms a part of the National Process Improvement Project (NPIP), which was established in October 2006 to develop consistent good practice service redesign method. The NPIP builds directly on the work started by local authorities in the North West who produced some 260 generic process activity maps covering each council tier.
It also includes sharing best practice from other councils, such as:. work on identifying service delivery costs across access channels led by the North West e-Government Group (NWeGG), developing the use of lifestyle profiling techniques for improving customer insight pioneered in authorities such as the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham and work to identify best practice in Front Office Shared Services (FOSS) being undertaken with the local government Improvement & Development Agency (IDeA).
Details of the Business Improvement Package are available online at www.communities.gov.uk/BIP.