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Business Plan Evaluation

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Business Plan Evaluation

  1. 1. An analysis of innovation and future themes of work within Kent County Council’s business plansKirsty Joanna Russell5th May 2010 1
  2. 2. Contents1.0 Executive Summary............................................................................3 1.1 Background and Context...........................................................3 1.2 Innovative Projects....................................................................4 1.3 Themes of Work........................................................................4 1.4 Issues........................................................................................4 1.5 Recommendations.....................................................................52.0 Aims.....................................................................................................63.0 Innovative Projects...............................................................................74.0 Cross Directorate Themes...................................................................9 4.1 Generic Themes........................................................................10 4.2 Emerging Themes.....................................................................105.0 Issues..................................................................................................17 5.1 Issues within the Directorates....................................................17 5.2 Issues with the Business Plans.................................................196.0 Technology Transformation Team Research Themes.........................22 6.1 Smart Phone Applications..........................................................22 6.2 Innovation Playground................................................................22 6.3 Virtual Presenter.........................................................................23 6.4 Co-Creative Working..................................................................23 6.5 Dissemination of Ideas...............................................................23 6.6 New Channels............................................................................237.0 Recommendations................................................................................24 7.1 For Kent County Council....................................................................24 7.2 For the Technology Transformation Team.........................................24 2
  3. 3. Executive Summary1.1 Background and ContextThe Technology Transformation team’s principle is to support and change how KCCundertakes its business in the future. The team has helped to test and deploy avariety of innovations in the past two years, thereby exploiting the efficiencies,savings and benefits identified; however within 2010/11 this model will be expandedto include a wider spread of units within KCC. To help achieve this goal it was feltthat an investigation must be undertaken in order to fully comprehend the units’issues and needs and how they are planning to deliver their services within 2010/11.A content analysis was conducted in March 2010 of 29 KCC Unit 2010/11 BusinessPlans and 4 KCC 2010/11 Directorate Business Plans. These documents arecompiled annually and provide a general overview of the functions of structureswithin KCC, along with detail of their planned activity, projects, financial budget andany national indicators they will be working towards in the next twelve months.The aims of the research were to firstly draw attention to any innovative projectswithin these plans, along with any planned innovations. The second objective was toestablish the generic themes of work featured within every business plan, such astackling climate change, along with any emerging themes, such as working withinEurope and partnership working. The research also aimed to highlight any issuesthat teams and directorates were facing which may impact the way they work ordeliver their services, and highlight any underlying issues with the content orstructure of the business plans. The final aim was to provide firm recommendationsbased on the findings for both the Technology Transformation team and Kent CountyCouncil. 3
  4. 4. 1.2 Innovative ProjectsThe innovation projects were categorised into a) Projects which had a clear methodof delivery, b) Project Developments, which were successful innovative projectsbranching out into new areas of work, and c) Potential Innovations, where teams hadidentified an issue where an innovative solution was needed.The projects with a clear method of delivery included the Kent Offshore Wind Farm(CED), the Club Connect Card (CMY), the Carbon Hub Tool (CMY) and the HomeInsulation Project (CED). Project developments included HOUSE which is evolvinginto ‘HOUSE on the move’ to provide services to young people who are hard to reachand Pick N Mix which is planned to be rolled out as part of Kent.gov. Triallingwebcast TV and creating an innovative and pioneering platform for festivals werehighlighted as potential innovations.1.3 Themes of Work15 cross directorate themes were highlighted; made up of both generic and emergingtopics. Generic themes were mandatory for every team to feature in their businessplan, such as climate change. Emerging themes were not mentioned within everybusiness plan but were mentioned on a sufficiently frequent basis to be able to formclear patterns. These included managing information, encouraging volunteering,working across services, partnership working outside of KCC, working within Europe,sharing services, working with SMEs, engaging with young people, engaging withhard to reach groups, moving services online, promoting 2012 Olympics, customershaping services and developing Total Place.1.4 IssuesPolitical, Economical, Socio-cultural, Technological, Legal and Environmental(PESTLE) issues which may be limiting the number of innovative initiatives in thedirectorates were highlighted, with the issue of reduced budgets being the mostfrequently mentioned.Although the business plans seem rigorous, detailed and comprehensive documentsat first sight, there are some underlying issues that need addressing. A) It was hardto distinguish whether teams had a lack of technological knowledge, needed help toaddress this or just failed to specify their chosen tools, as many generic comments 4
  5. 5. were made1. B) The wordles created for this report highlighted that there is anevident difference in language between the business plans and C) there is a need forteams to highlight how they are planning to manage future risks in their businessplans.1.5 RecommendationsThe TT team should produce an annual survey and research report using theforthcoming year business plans. Contact will need to be made early in the year withthe individuals who compile the Directorate and Unit business plans so they can beanalysed very soon after release. The TT team will use the outputs of this report toidentify which teams could use innovation to help deliver their services in a moreefficient and cost beneficial way.It is recommended for the whole organisation, that the individuals who create thebasic structure for the business plans should insert a section on managing risksmaking it compulsory for teams and directorates to state their plans in reducing oravoiding them. Kent County Council should also seriously consider how both theemerging and generic themes emerging from the findings will influence the way theorganisation works and delivers services to customers in the future.1 “Continuing to support staff with IT skills to support new technology used to improve efficiency” 5
  6. 6. Aims of Research1. To identify innovative projects being planned, along with project developments and potential projects.2. To highlight and evaluate both generic and emerging cross directorate themes.3. To identify issues with the structure and content of the business plans, and to identify issues which may be restricting the number of innovative projects being carried out within 2010/11 in all the directorates.4. To provide a better understanding of how the TT team’s aims relate to the upcoming work of the units and directorates within KCC.5. To provide robust recommendations for the Technology Transformation (TT) team and KCC as a whole.6. To provide a ‘stepping stone’ for a more in-depth and detailed mapping research project that is being planned. Innovative ProjectsThe innovative projects have been divided into three separate categories: 6
  7. 7. 1. Projects with clear aims and a detailed method of delivery. 2. Developments of existing innovative projects. 3. Projects where a need for an innovative solution has been identified.See table 1 in Appendix D.An ‘issue tree’ diagram, see Figure 1, was used to demonstrate the key innovationsbeing planned in the business plans, as they provide a visual ‘skeleton’ of whichteams are working on innovative projects, what these projects are and how many ofthem there are. Innovative initiatives being carried out within the CMY were HOUSEon the Move and ModernGov Member, as well as the Kent Offshore Windfarms andWebcast TV within CED. Figure 1: A photograph showing the issue tree diagram for the CFE Directorate before the PESTLE analysis was conducted.However, there were a limited number of innovative projects highlighted withinChildren, Families and Education (CFE), Kent Adult Social Services (KASS) andEnvironment, Highways and Waste (EHW). Within the CFE Directorate BusinessPlan, a ‘Virtual School Head’ was mentioned which ‘is a post to act as Virtual Headteacher for looked after children in Kent, who are of course widely dispersed acrossschools’2. In EHW, Kent Highways Services are working on ‘Hubs’ to improve“programming and quality of information to gangs”. Other than these, innovativeprojects planned for 2010/11 were limited.2 Mentioned by Peter Welsh, Consultant for Commissioning and Partnerships for KCC, on Yammer. 7
  8. 8. 8
  9. 9. Cross Directorate ThemesThe ‘Bubble Chart’ shows the themes identified and highlights the frequency ofmentions throughout the business plans; Tackling Climate Change has not beenincluded due to it being a generic theme featured in all the business plans. The chartdoes show that partnership working and sharing services are the two main themesrunning through the business plans. All the other themes, such as managinginformation and working with SMEs, were mentioned on a similar frequency apartfrom the 2012 Olympics.6.2 Generic ThemesGeneric themes refer to topics which are mandatory for each team or directorate tomention within their business plan.Tackling Climate ChangeMost of the business plans featured ideas such as planning to “reduce CO2 frombuildings, reduce CO2 from travel and transport, and manage climate risk” (KASSDirectorate Business Plan), “car share to meetings” and “reduce office costs”.However, units are also realising that to tackle climate change, behaviour needs tobe adapted3. Kent Highway Services are encouraging staff to realise that individualsare just as responsible for their behaviour as units “Ensuring all staff understand theirresponsibilities and actions they can take for climate chance and sustainability”, andYouth Services are looking at updating the “Service’s Environmental CurriculumPack, designed as a toolkit to assist staff and young people to undertakeenvironmental projects at local level”.6.3 Emerging Themes3 , “All of this [tackling climate change] requires strong leadership and commitment to changing behaviours across theorganisation” – Integrated Strategy and Planning Unit 9
  10. 10. Emerging themes were not featured in every business plan like tackling climatechange; they were mentioned on a sufficiently frequent basis to form a clear pattern.Saving CostsSaving costs was not as prominent a theme as expected within the 2010/11 businessplans. However; this may be as some teams have already completed the majority oftheir cost savings4.Another reason highlighted by the CMY Directorate is that saving costs will be asignificant issue over the next few years, not necessarily just in 2010/115.Managing InformationSome teams are looking at different ways of managing and disseminating theirinformation so that they can improve their services. Kent Highway Services (CMY)are looking at how they can improve information to Gateways. Sports, Leisure andOlympics (CMY) are looking at rationalising their Services database system toenhance performance, management and customer communication; as are Libraries(CMY) and Trading Standards (CMY). However, there is limited evidence of how thisis going to be carried out within the business plans.Encouraging VolunteeringEncouraging volunteering within the community and amongst KCC staff was aprominent theme in the business plans. Policy and Resources (CMY) are going toencourage and spread good practice in volunteer management within KCC, andSEDICT will be working in partnership with Kent CAN6 to deliver an annual VCSconference. Libraries (CMY), Youth Support Services (CMY) and the Sport, Leisureand Olympics Unit (CMY) are all looking at how they can encourage volunteering inthe community.Working across Services4 “The unit has already made very significant cost savings in its direct activities. The key challenge now is how wehelp the organisation adjust to operating in a lower resource environment whilst protecting key Member priorities”.5 “The reduction in public expenditure in the coming years will pose challenges for our operations as well as forusers of our services” “which includes over £4m of efficiency savings over the next three years”.6 Kent CAN is a county level infrastructure organisation which exists to support and promote the Voluntary andCommunity Sector (VCS) in Kent and Medway. 10
  11. 11. The idea that units within KCC are isolated was a common topic within the StaffRoad Shows, with Peter Gilroy, Chief Executive of KCC, mentioning that “there is adanger that we become more silod when budgets are squeezed”. He went on to saythat “We must avoid that and allow money to be used in the most sensible ways”7.The CFE Directorate Business Plan mentions that in 2010/11 “more flexibleapproaches need to be organised around the needs of service users rather thanprofessional silos”. SEDICT will collaborate with the CMY Directorate, ArtsDevelopment with the CFE Directorate and Kent Highway Services are also lookingat working with other directorates. It was also mentioned in various business plansthat Total Place is the way forward in stopping isolation amongst KCC teams8.Partnership Working outside of KCCThis was a frequent theme amongst all the directorates, and included working withdistrict councils, the private sector and other public sector bodies.Comms and Media (CED) are going to be working with district councils on a jointcommunication newspaper, and are looking at joining up with other online services toprovide information to the Gateways. Emergency Planning will also be working withdistrict councils, along with voluntary organisations, faith groups and members of thepublic within the civil contingencies arena.In terms of other public bodies, Kent Highway Services are going to be looking atworking with Kent Police; Arts Development with Homes and Communities Agency;Personnel and Development with Dover, Thanet, Shepway and Canterbury councils;Corporate Finance are going to “Increase partnership working with Kent Districts andother public sector bodies”.At the moment however, Public Health within CED are the only unit who stated thatthey will be developing a partnership with the private sector, with an aim of improvinghealthy living in Gravesend.Working within Europe7 Taken from Hollie Snelson’s Yammer Feed whilst she was reporting live from the Staff Road Showshttps://www.yammer.com/kent.gov.uk/tags/staffroadshows8 “Total Place may help to unlock ‘silo’ mentality when it comes to tackling ingrained issues” (SupportingIndependence Programme, CMY). 11
  12. 12. SEDICT within CED are going to be focusing on “Widening and deepening theproducts of the Kent in Europe seminar programme to encompass a think-tankapproach” and are going to “Deliver a seminar and follow-up research and visitprogramme to widen Kent’s European network and influence on skills provisionparticularly for the 14-24 age range including NEETS”. Arts Development withinCMY Directorate are also going to be delivering ‘EuroCamp’: an international campbased at the Swattenden Centre for 240 young people aged 14-17 from Kent andEurope in July/August 2010”. SEDICT especially is sowing the seeds for KCC tobranch out into even more partnership working within Europe, suggesting that thisfocus may be more prominent in the future business plans.Sharing ServicesSharing services was a consistent theme due to pressures for teams to make costsavings and adopt an influential ‘Total Place’ approach. This again was mentioned inall the Directorate Business Plans; the major projects being ‘Tell Us Once’ and themerge between Libraries and the Registration Services both of which are based inthe CMY. The Public Health team (CED) will be carrying out a pilot project toestablish individual health assessments in Kent libraries.There are other brief mentions of merging services from Kent Highway Services(EHW), Commissioning and Partnerships (CFE), Libraries (CMY), SDU (CED),Comms and Media (CED), Personnel and Development (CED), SEDICT (CED) andthe CFE Directorate Business Plan are more passing comments following on fromthe success of Total Place and the Gateways.Working with BusinessesThere was an aspiration of helping small to medium sized enterprises (SMEs) andworking with them, especially within the CED. EHW’s Low Carbon Futures Projecthelps SMEs to reduce their emissions and the Arts Development Unit within CMY aregoing to working on a framework to help support them in the creative industry. WithinCED, it is planned to map businesses within Kent, help them to ‘internationalise’ anddeliver seminars to help them develop. Trading Standards within CMY are alsohoping to provide trading law advice to them, targeting companies who are‘developing new or innovative’ products.Engaging with Young People 12
  13. 13. At the KCC Staff Road Shows, Peter Gilroy and Paul Carter emphasised both gettingyoung people to work at KCC and reducing the number of unemployed young peoplewithin Kent: “We have an ageing workforce, we need to get more people in andmake the targets tougher…in Kent the number of people over 16yrs old hasplummeted thanks to the enormously successful 14-16 vocational programmes” 9.Personnel and Development within the same directorate is aiming to “Develop askilled workforce for the future through the recruitment of young people to influencethe age demographic”.Again, within EHW there seemed to be contrasting views on drafting young peopleinto the organisation. Kent Highway Services (CMY) states that “Since the ageprofile of the KHS workforce reveals that approximately 30% of staff are over 55years of age a succession planning and career pathway process is put in place toensure continuity of skills and service delivery”, yet within Environment and Waste“There is a greater proportion of younger staff in the service and currently successionplanning is not an urgent issue as other directorates/services”.Engaging with hard to reach and disadvantaged groupsThis theme was featured in both the TT team’s ‘Transformed By You’ events and wasevident in the business plans. An interesting finding is that the SupportingIndependence Programme (CMY) labelled young people as a ‘disadvantaged group’and placed them as a priority above all other groups10. HOUSE on the Move alsoaims to target young people, but those who are particularly hard to reach11. The‘Your Safety, Your Health, Your Choice’ quiz by Trading Standards (CMY) aims totarget disadvantaged groups, again there is a focus on young people12.Personnel and Development (CED) are hoping to map disadvantaged groups withinKCC to “Build a comprehensive picture of the organisation by diversity strands.” ArtsDevelopment (CMY) is going to support the KCC Diversity Festival Work withDaDa13, and Libraries (CMY) will be looking at how to make their services moreaccessible to these groups.9 Mike Harris and Hollie Snelson Yammer Feed live from the KCC Staff Road Show:https://www.yammer.com/kent.gov.uk/tags/staffroadshows10 , “An immediate priority is young people because evidence indicates that they are being disproportionatelydisadvantaged by the current recession, although other disadvantaged groups will not be forgotten.”11 “House enables the identification of local needs for hard-to-reach young people who have previously not engagedwith services that can lead to significant service re-design.”12 “Teachers and special needs co-ordinators have told us young people with learning disabilities are oftenoverlooked when planning consumer education strategies and so this quiz has been developed to address this gap.”13 DaDa - South regional disability arts organisation 13
  14. 14. Moving Services OnlinePeter Gilroy mentioned in his Chief Executive foreword for the 2010/11 BusinessPlans, “Continuing to develop the new website to be a fully interactive with servicesavailable online. Online transactional capability will not only deliver a better customerexperience but financial savings as well’, however this wasn’t echoed as stronglywithin the business plans. Arts Development (CMY) will be looking into increasingawareness of the Unit and the services it offers through developing a web presence.Corporate Finance (CED) will be moving into ePayments in 2010/11, and Libraries(CMY) are going to develop innovative IT solutions for their Library and Archiveservices with ISG and other partners (e.g. Radio Frequency Identification - RFID).The Specialist Children’s Service Group (CFE) are trying to encourage theireducational psychologists to take online and video interactive training.Promoting 2012 OlympicsThe Sports, Leisure and Olympics team (CMY) will have a strong focus on this themethroughout 2010/11, including seeking to attract events of major significance andinternational teams to Kent through the London 2012 Games. However, the onlyother business plan that mentioned this event was the Arts Development unit (CMY)who are going to be helping to organise and run the Kent School Games 2012.Customers Shaping ServicesThis theme was a another common theme amongst the business plans, as PeterGilroy mentions in his Chief Executive Foreword ‘Citizenship is having increasedmeaning in shaping public services - understanding of the customer interface istherefore of critical importance’.Within CED, the shaping of HOUSE on the Move is going to be shaped and mouldedbased on the feedback from focus groups (Public Health). SDU are going to bedelivering a youth channel driven by young people and focusing on their issues andideas. The unit will also be setting up focus groups with customers to review currentservice delivery and potential improvements, and the information gathered fromthese groups will be used by staff as part of the Insight to Innovation programme.Comms and Media are also going to be looking at not only customers shapingservices, but allowing them to access more personalised information tailored to theirneeds, developing: “website registration to get personalised information andservices, report faults, track the progress of requests/faults and sign up for regularupdates.” 14
  15. 15. Within KASS, the rationale behind the modernisation is to give customers a morepersonalised service and a higher level of choice and control. Although it is notstated in the Directorate Business Plan how this is going to be carried out, the work isongoing and is related to the FAME project. Customers are also going to be givenmore choice and control through the ‘Valuing People Now’, which is again part of theALFA modernisation.KASS also have the Kent LINk (Local Involvement Network) which is an independentnetwork of local people and community groups working together to influence andimprove Kent’s health and social care services. The Directorate Involvement Group,has been reconfigured to include members of the public and will be jointly chaired bya member of the public and a SMT (Senior Management Team) member. TheLearning Resource Team within KASS has also trained 13 service users with mentalhealth problems to provide training on the Approved Mental Health Practitionercourse for Social Work staff.Within EHW, Integrated Planning and Strategy are going to improve customerexperience including public access in the planning process, e-consultation andapplications available on the web, while Kent Highway Services are going to engagewith the community to develop and consult on proposed improvements to thehighway network.Youth Services within CMY are looking at empowering customers to have a greaterinfluence over the services provided for them, Supporting People will be conducting apilot of self directed support to examine the impact, and Policy and Resources will belistening to young people’s views and opinions and developing their ideas to improveeducation and life in Kent.Developing Total PlaceTotal Place was noted earlier as helping to shape an approach by sharing services;however the actual project for delivering this will be developing and expanding within2010/11. The Property Group’s business plan (CED) states that the unit has beentasked with making savings of £251k in 2010/2011 and is focusing on identifyingopportunities to generate significant savings. However, the SDU Unit (CED) will beresponsible for the majority of the work for Total Place as they mention that during2010/11 they will be working with KCC theme leads and external partners to deliverthe aspirations within the Total Place submission, co-ordinating the delivery of theactions within the programme, ensuring the links between the three themes are madeand liaising with central government as appropriate. They will be exploring 15
  16. 16. approaches taken by other pilot areas on Total Place and share ideas and bestpractice from these areas in Kent. The CFE Directorate will also be making sure thatin 2010/11 the directorate will be fully involved in Total Place, and discussions will belinked with the Corporate Centre at the relevant levels – Resource Directors, BWP(Better Workplaces), COG (Chief Officer Group) and Cabinet. 16
  17. 17. Issues5.1 Issues within the DirectoratesA PESTLE analysis14 was conducted to determine any underlying issues which maybe restricting innovative projects being developed within all of the directorates andmay explain the emerging themes that were identified. Each directorate wasanalysed in terms of political, environment, social-cultural, technological, legal andeconomical issues that appeared in their business plans.Chief Executive’s DirectorateIt is interesting to see that the analysis for the CED, highlighted technology, financial,social and environmental issues for not only the directorate, but for the wider publicsector and the community too. These were seen as intertwined, meaning that anissue in the community or public sector may affect the work of CED in 2010/11.The issue of reduced budgets was highlighted for the whole public sector and thevoluntary sector15 however CED is also looking to generate income, not stated byother directorates16. The Business Plan not only highlighted a need for technologicalsolutions, but recognised that these are ever changing and that there is a danger ofthe organisation being left behind17. From a social perspective, the directoratehighlights the importance of users shaping services, as highlighted in the researchthemes earlier, but there is a danger of not fully understanding their needs18 andteams not willing to change the way they work to make room for this transformation19.However, succession planning20 and the rolling out of broadband21 could beopportunities for innovation rather than barriers within the directorate.14 “A PESTLE analysis involves identifying the Political, Economical, Socio-Cultural, Technological, Legal andEnvironmental influences on an organisation or strategy” – Strategy Survival Guide, Cabinet Office, Prime Minister’sStrategy Unit, July 2004.15 “This business plan is set in the context of a difficult financial situation. Financial reductions across the publicsector, and the voluntary sector, which plays such a key role in Kent, are set to be very significant.”16 “Maximising income generation.”17 “The pace of change in technology is now so rapid that local government is in danger of falling behind theexpectations of citizens who are embracing these new technologies. It is essential that we, the public sector familycollectively, make the most efficient use of our assets and continue to harness the benefit of emerging technologies”18 “Citizenship is having increased meaning in shaping public services - understanding of the customer interface istherefore of critical importance”19 “This means we have to transform the way we interact and engage”20 Services will maintain a focus on succession planning within the Unit, but good progress was made in 2009/10. 17
  18. 18. Children, Families and EducationThere was a recognised need for innovation to make improvements within the CFEDirectorate Business Plan, but this was set against a background of reduced budgetswhich may limit the amount of innovation planned for 2010/11:“All require an innovative response from us within the context of reduced publicspending” – CFE Directorate Business PlanThe business plan highlights social problems such as rising demands from thecustomer22, the reorganising of the directorate23 and the problem of other localauthorities placing children within Kent24 which again may be barriers againstinnovation.CommunitiesThe CMY Directorate recognises financial issues will arise in 2010/1125, however seethese as a challenge rather than a problem26. No other issues were highlighted bythe analysis which may explain the large number of innovative initiatives planned forthis directorate within 2010/11.Environment, Highways and WasteThe analysis showed that a need to generate ideas and innovative is evident withinthe EHW business plans, but the technological tools to enable this are yet to bedetermined which may be a barrier to innovative initiatives. For example, one teamstated that they “want to manage existing IT systems and determine and deliver newinnovative business solutions in 2010/11” however how this will be achieved or withwhich tools is not mentioned27.21 “Grants will be made to increase the wired broadband availability across the county; this is currently 98% forhouseholds and 97.3% for businesses and move towards meeting the Digital Britain 2mb+ standard.”22 “Within CFE, in common with many other local authorities, there are challenges in relation to increased demandson our children’s social services”23 “The new delivery model, subject to consultation, will be a significant change for some of the 4,500 staff workingwithin CFE, and there will be the loss of around 260 posts”24 “This continues to create risks across a range of services including the need to provide additional support withoutthe potential for cost recoupment from placing authorities”25 “Upcoming reduction in public finances highlights particular risks that the directorate faces due to its make-upManagers will be focused on delivering a tough Medium term Plan, which includes over £4m of efficiency savingsover the next three years”26 “Internally, our services are responding to the challenge to become leaner, more flexible and better able to respondquickly to the changing environment. Our staff will need to continue to be at their creative best, innovating beyondthe expectations of our customers, and their development is our priority.” 18
  19. 19. Economical barriers28, such as reduced budgets, as well as environmental barriers29,such as adverse weather conditions during the winter were also mentioned frequentlywithin the unit plans and again may be barriers to innovative projects beingconducted.Kent Adult Social ServicesThe analysis highlighted a need for ‘modernisation’ and personalisation’30,which is sometimes considered a driver for innovation, and a majorenvironmental disruption for staff from the directorate restructure31. KASS iswidely known for their innovative mobile working for staff, Telehealth andFaME project (Flexible and Mobile Working Engagement), and it could be thatthe continuation of these major, large-scale innovations may also beresponsible for a lack of new, innovative projects mentioned for 2010/11.5.2 Issues with the Business PlansTechnological KnowledgeThere was a tendency for teams and directorates to make broad statements such as,“Continuing to support staff with IT skills to support new technology used to improveefficiency” – Kent Highway Services. The teams stated what they wanted to achieve(technologies to improve efficiencies within the team) but did not reveal how toachieve this and which technologies to consider using. Whether this is due to a lackof technological knowledge or a failure to state planned research into potentialtechnologies is unknown. However, the TT team has a wealth of knowledgeregarding innovative, time and money saving technologies and should bedisseminating this information amongst all these teams.Language27 “To ensure that the country parks service is well-managed, sustainable and innovative, managing theexpenditure/income balance and enable the delivery and development of key services and future visitor needs” -Country Parks for EHW28 “Insufficient resources to meet business objectives and cover workloads”- IS&P29 “We are experiencing the most challenging winter for 30 years – something that was impossible to predict butwhich has placed significant additional demands on our services” – E&W, “Accidents involving a member of thepublic or staff at a Household Waste Recycling Centre, in a country park or on a Public Right of Way” – E&W30 “Improve the level of personalisation, choice and control”31 “Active Lives for Adults (ALfA) is a programme of total transformation… This has been a challenging time for staff” 19
  20. 20. There was an evident difference in language between the business plans. Forexample, words such as ‘systems’, ‘innovation’, ‘platforms’, ‘prototypes’,‘applications’, ‘marketplace’ were commonplace throughout the TT team businessplan, compared to a focus on ‘priorities’, ‘delivery’, ‘service’, ‘outcomes’,‘performance’, ‘people’ and ‘assessment’ within the other unit business plans, seeFigures 2 and 3. It would be beneficial to highlight words that may be uncommon toother teams or directorates and to provide alternatives, or make it compulsory fordetail to be given about the meanings of uncommon words or synonyms within thefootnotes. Figure 2: A wordle of the KASS Directorate 2010/11 Business Plan 20
  21. 21. Figure 3: A wordle of the CFE Directorate 2010/11 Business PlanHighlighting Risk Management and IssuesPlans on managing risk within 2010/11 were stated and clearly labelled within someof the business plans but not all. It is recommended to make this along with statingexpected future barriers and limitations within the business plans compulsory.Highlighting these barriers may help to forge relationships between units who may befacing the same barriers, and can instead embrace partnership working in tacklingthese issues together. 21
  22. 22. Technology Transformation Team Research Themes The Technology Transformation Team’s main driver is: ‘Innovations that radically change the way KCC does business by supporting users/customers/staff and Members to do more for themselves via remote, transactional channels and thereby empowering them to shape services and personalise access to information to meet their own needs.’32Therefore, it is essential for the TT team to fully understand how teams are currentlyconducting their work and if they have the potential to benefit from the research intoinnovation that will be conducted in the upcoming year. With this in mind, links weremade between the research themes highlighted in the TT Team’s 2010/11Programme and the Unit and Directorate business plans.6.1 Smart Phone ApplicationsThere are numerous teams, especially within EHW, looking to promote or shareinformation about their services in a way that is easily accessible to the generalpublic. Teams are also looking at ways that their customers can inform them ofchanges in the environment and help to shape the services, for example reporting flytipping in the local area, which can be achieved through smart phone applications.6.2 Innovation PlaygroundSports, Leisure and Olympics and other teams within the CMY directorate areinterested in a platform that would help them source funding and partners to workwith on projects.6.3 Virtual Presenter32 Taken from The Technology Transformation Programme 2010. 22
  23. 23. The Virtual Presenter tool may be able to help the several teams looking at differentways of delivering training, such as online, and Kent Highways Service who arelooking at streamlining their ‘out of hours’ service.6.4 Co-Creative WorkingThe Technology Transformation Team has recently hosted two events, ‘TransformedBy You’ and ‘Transformed By You On Campus’ which had a theme of co-creativeworking. The Arts Development Team is working on two similar events with theDreamland Trust to deliver innovation and creativity within the development of theDreamland site, and with National Federation of Artists’ Studio Providers and KADUto support creative workspace development opportunities. Similarly the Gatewayprojects within CED have a theme of co-creative working, but this is not a prioritywithin the rest of the directorates.6.5 Dissemination of IdeasTeams within KCC are mainly disseminating their ideas via newsletters and the web;although the Comms and Media team (CED) are now embracing social media.6.6 New ChannelsTeams across all the directorates are looking to adopt new channels to engage withcustomers and provide cost efficiencies, such as providing digital services, e-solutions and using social media, however how these are going to be implemented isgenerally not specified.For more detailed information, see Appendix F. 23
  24. 24. RecommendationsKent County Council • To consider including a section on managing risks and potential barriers, especially with respect to innovation, in the Business Plan structure. This would be achieved through contacting the individuals responsible for structuring the business plan and explaining the potential benefits for them to consider for the 2011/12 business plans. • To encourage teams to think innovatively when tackling addressing generic themes such as climate change and sustainability. Many teams merely stated that they were addressing this issue through reducing office costs, but more innovative solutions such as tackling behaviour may be more effective in the long term. • To recommend that detail be given about the meanings of uncommon words or synonyms within the footnotes of the business plans. This again would be achieved through negotiations with the individuals who are responsible for structuring the business plans. • To take into account the success of Total Place and the vibrant theme of other teams within the organisation wanting to work like this, and to look for further opportunities to encourage this in the future.Technology Transformation Team • To determine what needs to be followed up from this report, by whom and when, especially for the innovative projects highlighted. • To contact teams highlighted under the Technology Transformation Team Research Themes to find out more information about their projects and what 24
  25. 25. is planned for them. For example, Kent Highway Services for smart phone application.• To conduct research into the level of technological knowledge outside of the team and how it impacts innovative projects.• To produce an information pack on technological solutions to give to teams within KCC.• To conduct a research report annually after all the new business plans have been released, and to compare trends and innovation between KCC business plans and what is happening with London and nationally. 25