31 January 2011

Direct debits: making savings

Prompted by an enquiry on another site - I did a brief piece of research into good practice on increasing the numbers of people paying their council tax by direct debit. Here is what I turned up:

Here is some details from Wandsworth - in case you have not already seen this: here and here

There also appears to have been a London wide campaign: click here

And here are some more links too:


27 January 2011

The BEST in Birmingham

There is a good summary of the BEST programme that Birmingham City Council runs to harness the ideas of the staff here

The BEST programme: 
Improving employee engagement in Birmingham City Council


Change for any organisation can be hard. The frontline workforce can often feel left out. Birmingham City Council has placed its staff at the heart of the process, boosting their motivation in the process. Birmingham has set up a network of groups that are helping shape the future.

Key learnings for other councils...

26 January 2011

Welcome to this blog!

I have just written to a large number of public service bodies alerting them (again) to the existence of this blog. If you have been prompted to come here as a result of that email - thanks for coming to visit!

This blog now has over 300 ideas for how to increase efficiency, effectiveness and overall service. The aim of the blog is to disseminate, celebrate and stimulate practical improvement ideas in the public and voluntary services.

Given all the huge pressures facing local services, I thought now would be good time to remind people that this blog exists – to help where it can.

  • Have a look at the blog – browse and search it – there may be an idea there that you could use – it’s free and no sign up is required 
  • Let other people know - anyone who you think might be interested in ways to improve efficiency 
  • Write back to me with an idea (or two) that you would like to add to the blog 
The blog has been browsed now nearly 20,000 times in the last couple of years.

Everyday people from the UK (and often from places further afield) visit the blog for inspiration.

I would be most grateful for any ideas you would like to contribute. (They don’t have to be amazingly creative, or unique or even that small... just an idea that you know of, or implemented yourself, that you think is making a positive difference. I will assume that whatever you send me can be uploaded with your name & organisation attached – unless you tell me otherwise. Non attributed postings are quite OK.)

Thank you.


U Suggest

A local District Council writes:

The scheme was set up in October 2007, and awards are made approximately quarterly.  Of the nearly 90 ideas sent in to U Suggest so far, 23 suggestions have received awards.  The types of suggestion we receive include operational improvements; the highlighting of areas of our service which would benefit from review; suggestions for improved staff facilities; suggestions for carbon emission reduction; ideas for improving internal communication, and so on. 

I would draw to your attention the following two suggestions, both of which received significant awards under our scheme.

Suggestion regarding Council Direct Debit changes

An award was made to an officer for his suggestion that changes to benefits for Council tenants paying by Direct Debit should be generated by an electronic report. This suggestion was made by someone from outside the relevant department, who realised that such a report could save much staff time.  The idea has been successfully implemented. 

Suggestion regarding testing of Lifeline equipment

Instead of officers carrying out visits to customers using Lifeline equipment purely in order to check that the equipment was working, telephone testing was suggested.  Of course, in view of the vulnerable nature of many of these customers, this suggestion would not be feasible or desirable in certain cases, but where appropriate, remote testing will take place, thus saving officer time.  

Thanks for this