Slough Borough Council faced the challenge of significantly increasing efficiency while at the same time improving the quality of services for its >145,000 residents.
Having already implemented all the possible changes across its transactional services with the capacity it had available in-house, the Council decided to look for an outsourcing partner that could help develop alternative, innovative ways of delivering the services at a price it could afford.
Arvato was chosen because of its extensive public and private sector experience, its ability to use innovation to transform services and its credible commitment to the Council’s values.
In March 2012, Slough Borough Council entered a 10-year partnership with Arvato to provide a range of transactional and corporate services, including revenues and benefits, payroll, finance services, HR and logistics services. The partnership was subsequently extended in December 2013 to include customer services and ICT.
In total, 198 Council employees were TUPE-transferred to Arvato.
The partnership is underpinned by collaboration, open and honest communications and a commitment to improving the lives of the citizens of Slough. Since the beginning of the partnership in 2012, we’ve made significant improvements in service delivery and efficiencies, which we couldn’t have achieved without Arvato.Ruth Bagley, Chief Executive, Slough Borough Council
Going far beyond the initial contractual commitments, the partnership embodies the true sense of collaboration by jointly working to meet the needs to the Council and the local community.
Delivering continuous improvements across service areas
Arvato has implemented a combination of process improvements and intelligent technology which have produced significant results:
Investment in people and training has been a key strategy from the outset, to ensure the partnership has the talented people needed to drive transformation and deliver excellent services to residents.
At the beginning of the partnership, all transferred employees completed an introductory Lean Six Sigma training, a management technique designed to identify improvements and further efficiencies. Staff were then given the opportunity to review services, focusing specifically on their individual work area. An employee survey showed that people felt more empowered to make changes to reduce costs and improve services to customers.
As part of Arvato’s commitment to provide 117 apprenticeships, a joint programme was created to offer local people aged between 16 and 18-years-old roles across a range of services from customer services to ICT, leading to an NVQ Level 2 in Business Administration. More than 30 apprentices have been hired since 2012 - 63% have subsequently secured full-time roles, compared to the 23% national average – with a further 40 brought on in June 2016.
Boosting business rates collections for Slough Borough Council
Arvato supported the Council in achieving a key part of it's strategy, protecting frontline services for citizens by maximising income through the collection of council tax, business rates and sundry debts.
Using Arvato’s expertise in revenues and benefits to implement a best practice system for collecting business rates, the partnership has seen a substantial increase in the rateable value of the Borough‘s commercial properties. Sucesses include a 2.2% improvement in business rates collection rates since the start of the partnership and the identification of new rateable properties valued at 4.64m.