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Pioneers for IT services for the public sector use cloud to cut costs and improve service
By: Lisa Boch-Andersen, Senior Director for Communications Europe
15 December 2011

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In this case study, you can read about London Borough of Newham’s leading example of utilizing cloud computing in public sector services and sharing technology with neighbouring boroughs which has resulted in improved service delivery and digital engagement with its citizens.

London Borough of Newham is a unitary authority that serves a population of around 250,000 east of the City of London, in the United Kingdom (UK). As a leader in public sector IT, Newham wanted to improve its service delivery and digital engagement with citizens, while reducing costs. By sharing services with the neighbouring local authority of Havering, Newham is also pioneering a transformation in both councils with the use of cloud computing.

Its online portal service, which is available to every resident, will encourage more people to conduct transactions online rather than at council offices. With reusable technology, the platform will contribute to Newham and Havering’s target of more than €13 million cashable savings between them, without cutting front-line services. Potential exists for other authorities—including the London Borough of Waltham Forest—to join them, further improving efficiency and providing high-quality customer service.

With the cloud based, Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 solution, Newham Council is transforming public sector services with an integrated solution for citizen service delivery and digital engagement. The new customer access information and communications technology (ICT), went live in Newham in the second quarter of 2011. This technology gives the council a record of everything its customers do with the authority, and is the first such implementation of Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 by a UK council. It replaces an in-house developed customer relationship management (CRM) system called LA CRM, which was reaching the end of its life cycle.

Shane Mills, Customer Access ICT Programme Manager, London Borough of Newham, says: “Previously, agents found it difficult to find customers’ details on the system, so they tended to create duplicates. They were creating duplicates at a rate of around 10 per cent per month in the existing CRM system. With Microsoft Dynamics CRM, they’re only creating 0.1 per cent. The improved data quality is a huge benefit to services across the council."

In 2011, Newham embarked on a ground-breaking project to share technology and support services with the neighbouring London Borough of Havering. The Newham solution for service delivery and digital engagement with citizens is considered by many in the public sector, to be a good example of how to achieve lean government. It meets the challenge of delivering high-quality services with fewer resources, given the UK’s tight fiscal policies for local and regional government.

Chief Information Officer of the Newham Council, Geoff Connell says: “Our first objective is to hit our cashable savings targets for 2011–12. The second is to deliver challenging technology-driven change programmes in Newham and Havering—in particular, those in customer services.”

As part of its strategy, Newham wants to encourage as many people as possible to go online following the lead set by Martha Lane Fox, Dotcom pioneer and UK Digital Champion appointed by the UK government. She also argues that as well as delivering better services for citizens, shifting 30 per cent of government service delivery contacts to digital channels has the potential to deliver gross annual savings of more than £1.3 billion.

Channel shifting also saves money for local authorities. Mills says: “The cost to the council of managing a citizen service transaction is estimated at around £16 to £18 if a person comes to council offices. Over the telephone it’s around £4.60, but over the web or on email it drops to around £0.60.”

With more than 60 local authorities in the UK using Microsoft Dynamics CRM, the potential exists for innovative applications to be moved into the Newham CRM system at low cost.

Connell says: “Word of the success of Newham and Havering in shared services and digital engagement with citizens is spreading, and discussions with others are on-going.”

You can find the original case study here.

Small & Medium Enterprises are the backbone of Europe’s economy. We work hard with governments and industry to ensure that SMEs get the most out of technology. Thanks to cloud computing that has pervasive benefits throughout the economy, SMEs can now exploit economies of scale, to rapidly expand their business and offer innovative solutions with less risk. This space on our website is dedicated to innovative European SMEs and the added-value of cloud computing to their businesses.

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