To consider the attached report.
Contact Officer: Maryvonne Hassall 901296) 585663
The Committee received a report on the progress made against the Connected Knowledge Programme over the last two years. AVDC had approved a total of £3.1m over the period 2017/18 and 2018/19 for Phases 1 and 2 of the programme up to March 2019.
The report contained information looking back at what had been delivered by the programme to date and would be delivered up to March 2019. This included information on the financial spend and the benefits delivered.
Information on Phase 3 (future phase) of the Connected Knowledge Programme would be included in the budget setting papers to be submitted to the scrutiny committee in January 2019 and to full Council in February 2019. Future planning had included looking at the lessons learnt to date and ensuring that the Council built on the work that had already been delivered to date.
The programme had delivered 46 projects to date, with 27 in flight and a further set in the planning stages. It had delivered the first council Alexa skill, and then improved it by adding ‘Find Your Bin Day’ in line with customer demand. It had delivered the first true Artificial Intelligence in the Council’s customer services area and continued to expand this capability to include more breadth of queries and automation. There were currently 59,881 active My Accounts, with the team able to handle 1,900 webchats per month.
The Programme board and Steering Group had provided governance to control the call off of funds for each project once a business case, including benefits realisation has been put in place. In addition, there had been a strong focus on closing down projects and moving to business as usual.
Some elements of the programme have been delayed due to resourcing issues, but funding for these elements had been ring fenced to ensure they could still be delivered. The Connected Knowledge programme had continued to deliver in line with these key areas:-
· Innovation - the introduction of innovative new solutions such as voice recognition and artificial intelligence for call handling and decision making.
· Transformation - the rollout of internal process automation and customer self service.
· Legacy reduction - the removal of legacy technology and introduction of more flexible systems that will further support integration of data to enable customer needs to be anticipated.
The programme had delivered
· the first council to have an Alexa skill.
· use of Artificial intelligence in customer services.
· a new corporate network with improved resilience.
· a new public wifi network with increased capacity for staff usage.
· new licensing and environmental health system on an integrated platform.
· new building control system on an integrated platform.
· new planning and land charges system on an integrated platform (still in flight).
· more resilient Revenues and Benefits system.
The advances had created a strong foundation for the next five years, enabling the Council to think bigger and more creatively about the challenges and opportunities and how it was best positioned to benefit from them.
Members requested further information and were informed:-
(i) that the lessons learnt had included underestimating the need to keep helping staff once systems had been introduced, and recognising that it was important get staff and teams to ‘own’ change processes.
(ii) that the programme had used Connected Knowledge champions within the areas experiencing change. The champions were then able to lead on change in their teams.
(iii) that the two business cases that had been rejected had been for a new electoral registration system (due to business timing issues) and for investment in a Garden Waste app.
The Committee commented that they were encouraged by the good governance and support arrangements that were in place for the Connected Knowledge Programme and, it was,
That the achievements of the Connected Knowledge Programme over the previous phases including the benefits achieved so far be noted.