Delivering continuous improvement

arvato and Slough Borough Council partner to improve services for residents and make a difference to the local community

Challenge: to improve efficiencies without compromising on quality

Slough Borough Council faced the challenge of significantly increasing efficiency while at the same time improving the quality of services for 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. 

Solution: to transform services through people, skills and technology

Putting people at the heart of the transformation

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 training in Lean Six Sigma, 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 over the course of the partnership, Slough Borough Council and arvato created a joint apprenticeship programme. Young people from Slough aged between 16 and 18-years-old are offered roles in youth services, adult social care, finance and procurement, logistics, HR and customer services, leading to an NVQ Level 2 in Business Administration. More than 50 apprentices have either completed their training or are currently enrolled in the programme.

In customer services, employees are improving their knowledge in a number of service areas, enabling them to resolve more customer queries at first point of contact. Working with the Council on its location strategy, the partnership continues to reunite teams in one place to promote team working and facilitating faster and more effective resolution of complex customer enquiries.


Continuous improvements across service areas

arvato and Slough Borough Council are committed to continue to invest into the transformation of services over the course of the partnership. A combination of process improvements and intelligent technology has already delivered significant progress across all services:

  • Customer services: The partnership moved the contact centre team from Council premises to arvato’s state of the art headquarters in Slough. The move included the implementation of a new telephony system and an IT upgrade for the team, enabling a more efficient service. In the customer service centre, the introduction of a new contact management system means residents are routed through the centre more efficiently and seen quicker as a result.
  • ICT: The team performed a raft of ICT infrastructure updates for the Council to support its new location strategy, including successfully moving 180 Slough Borough Council employees’ technology in 48 hours over one weekend.
  • Revenues & benefits: The partnership improved processes and offered additional customer support to increase the collection of council tax and business rates, thus improving the cash flow for the Council. Two projects have been set up to maximise business rates collections and target aged debt, generating revenue to support front line services. New online self-serve modules have been introduced to enable residents to make transactions via the Council’s website in a push to promote channel shift.
  • Logistics: The IT behind the document management system has been upgraded, improving processes and saving archiving costs. The team also supports the Council with scanning and digitising files for archiving.
Supporting the Council’s dedication to drive digital transformation, arvato supported the roll-out of tablet computers to more than 40 Councillors. The devices provide secure, remote digital access to emails, documents and enable Councillors to deal with citizen concerns much quicker, saving the Council £25,000 in annual printing and paper costs.



Commitment to community engagement

As a partner sharing the same values as Slough Borough Council, arvato has been actively engaged in the local community.

  • arvato is an active supporter and board member of Slough Aspire, a programme designed to help the local community develop employability skills. 
  • arvato’s teams in Slough support various national and local charities, including the Prince’s Trust and Thames Hospice, raising over £3,600 in 2014 alone.
  • arvato has teamed up with the Council’s Employ-Ability Scheme, providing part time work for people with disabilities in its logistics department.
  • Working with local schools, arvato delivers workshops to pupils about poverty and the support available through Slough Borough Council for people in need.
  • In 2014, arvato relocated its UK headquarters to Slough, bringing with it a number of private sector clients and in excess of 100 permanent jobs, together with future employment opportunities for Slough residents.


  • arvato has committed to creating 117 apprenticeships over the term of the partnership
  • The partnership retained 100% of transferred employees and achieved 98% of its Key Performance Indicators during transition
  • Following the Lean Six Sigma training, efficiency savings of well over £60,000 were identified, including cash savings of more than £2,000
  • Improved in-year collection rates for Council Tax by 1.2% 
  • In customer services, service levels have been improved by over 15% while facing an increase in call volumes of 20%
  • The introduction of tablet computers for Councillors has created annual savings of £25,000 in printing and paper costs for the Council

Services: to deliver a range of transactional services

  • Revenues and benefits 
  • Payroll 
  • Finance services
  • HR services
  • Logistics services
  • Customer services
  • ICT