Chesterfield Borough Council sets the standard for district council outsourcing
The best practice gleaned from the partnership between Chesterfield Borough Council (CBC), Arvato and Kier is helping a neighbouring council embed effective and rapid refinements into its in-house Benefits service, through the provision of a highly trained, remote-working team.
After identifying savings of up to 27% in efficiencies across key service areas within weeks of the partnership’s launch, CBC has successfully reversed a trend of falling collection rates to record an increase in Council Tax collection rates in 2010/11 to 96.4%, and is on target to improve that level to over 97% for 2011/12. The partnership has also maintained the volume of calls answered within 20 seconds at over 90%, despite a 10% increase in call volumes.
There has also been a significant impact on property, with occupancy rates of council-owned properties up from 86.7% to 90.6% and town centre occupancy of CBC’s retail portfolio is well over 90%, bucking the national declining trend in retail rentals.
The partnership covers a wide range of services, ranging from ICT, customer services, human resources, revenues, benefits, payroll, accounts payable, invoice processing, engineering and facilities maintenance and asset management. Arvato has invested £1.7m into the partnership, with £250,000 committed to the redevelopment of the Revenues Hall in Chesterfield Town Centre.
Employee engagement and empowerment have been fundamental to the success of the partnership. The entire workforce was given Lean Six Sigma management training, which enabled them to review the existing workflows and procedures in place, and identify areas which could be strengthen or refined to drive cost savings and improve productivity. Staff retention remains at 100%.
“From the outset, we have worked closely with Arvato – not just on contract development and strategy but on daily KPIs and how to achieve these,” said Cllr John Burrows, Leader Chesterfield Borough Council. “An open, honest and transparent approach to service delivery has been – and will continue to be – the vital element. Both parties have a strong sense of what success looks like, and our relationship enables us to develop flexible, best practice models that will benefit not only our citizens and staff, but can be used to help other councils at a similar level.”
“It’s incredible to think we’ve only just hit the one year anniversary, as so much has already been achieved,” said Rainer Majcen, Managing Director, Public Sector, Arvato UK & Ireland. “We’ve been able to establish a genuine, collaborative partnership, which has already ensured a seamless transition of service delivery, and will provide the desired improvements and efficiencies for the citizens and businesses of Chesterfield.”
CBC and Arvato cite a flexible working relationship as the key to success, which provides the foundation for an open, honest and transparent approach to service delivery. The partnership has over 100 performance indicators, which were mutually agreed and developed for daily review. 98 of the KPIs are currently ‘green’ and progressing towards the predicted £4m of savings that the partnership will generate over its ten year lifetime. Its approach has already been commended by a series of regional and national public sector award programmes.
About Arvato UK & Ireland
Arvato is a trusted global business outsourcing partner to the private and public sectors in the UK. With more than 50 years of experience in outsourcing, Arvato combines expertise in business process outsourcing (BPO), finance services, contact centres, loyalty and customer retention, supply chain solutions, and public sector and citizen services to deliver innovative, individual solutions. Arvato has long-term partnerships with some of the most respected companies in the UK and globally, as well as innovative public sector clients. For more information, visit www.arvato.co.uk.