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Archived Special Report

A Special Report on Solutions for Government Enabling Transformation

This Special Report centres on a paper produced by Business Objects and originally published in Fostering Public Sector Performance in Europe - European Review of Political Technologies - Volume 4, July 2007

Historically the management solution for making service delivery more efficient was to build/purchase a computer system that stored the data required to maintain that service and possibly ‘automate’ the production of any paperwork needing to be generated.

The systems often performed very efficiently, enabling its users to use resources in an efficient manner and facilitating the delivery of the service.

However, requirements have now moved on and ‘efficiency in delivery’ is increasingly needing to be measured, not in the isolation of an individual service, but rather within a range of inter-linked services that are often delivered by several organisations working in partnership.
The old ‘silos’ of individual service data are increasingly being rationalised into organisation-wide databases that can provide a total picture of the services an individual accesses and which can be updated centrally (through a one-stop contact centre) rather than on a service by service basis.
Indeed, the transformation is continuing to evolve even further, to the point that pan-organisation databases are increasingly being created in order to help ensure that clients don’t ‘fall through the net’ when the lack of ability to obtain an overall picture can lead to individual service partner PSOs all assuming that the others are taking the appropriate action – sadly not always the case.
However, this move to data-sharing is not without its issues, especially when trying to establish:
* just who updates what and when
* the appropriate access rights for users who need to access differing aspects of the database
* an audit trail of who accessed the data, when and for what reason, and
* how the data subject can be given access to their data
The Business Objects paper highlights what is involved in Government Enabled Transformation – both the advantages and the issues that need to be considered if client trust in the secure storage of their pan-organisation data is to be maintained and the full benefits of e-services achieved.
Click here to register to receive your free copy of the Business Objects White Paper on ‘Government Enabling Transformation’

Click here to register to receive the Bathwick Research Paper ‘Reporting Efficiencies in the Public Sector’

Solutions for Government Enabling Transformation

Solutions for Government Enabling Transformation
The following comprises of précised extracts from a White Paper produced by Business Objects and originally published in Fostering Public Sector Performance in Europe - European Review of Political Technologies - Volume 4, July 2007
Transforming Government Performance
The growth of States throughout history has led to a complexity of government agencies and organizations with, on average, each large enterprise and government agency requiring between five and ten different databases to support and manage their operations.
A survey conducted by The Bathwick Group (November 2005) on UK government agencies showed that more than 80 % of the information required to perform their mission comes from different government agencies, and that in more than 75 % of the cases if the quality of information was to be questioned it would be difficult and extremely time consuming to trace it back to its source.
Being driven by privacy requirements, the very nature of the public sector organization leads to data silos, whereas service delivery is increasingly being performed by agencies acting in a network composed of several dimensions; including the connection between central and local government.
Government agencies of all types face increasing pressure to improve the quality of the programs and services they deliver, while spending less to support them. Policy makers and citizens alike want government agencies to be more cost-effective and efficient, while remaining focused on providing customer-centric services.
So what is the key to demonstrating the value of the services these organisations deliver?  
Producing timely, accurate and concise performance management information for all stakeholders - from government managers, to local elected officials and to constituents has become a mandatory feature.
With the transformation of government organisations to result or outcome oriented organizations, planning andtracking costs per activity (Activity Based Costing) have become a key requirement of the budgetary exercise, so as to facilitate managers and decision makers evaluating policies and proposing alternatives.
Business Objects vision of transforming siloed data into actionable information rests upon a Business Intelligence infrastructure layer, composed of Enterprise Information Management (EIM), , including Data Quality Management, to extract data from different heterogeneous sources, load it into a data warehouse to deliver pertinent information (Information Design and Delivery) in the form of reporting and, for power users, the ability to query & analyse activities.
The end to end vision is further enhanced by a set of Performance Management Solutions providing analytics engines, dashboards, financial planning and budgeting, activity based costing and profitability analysis tools.
Transforming Citizen Information and Administrative Processes
Traditionally, each department / agency has collected, stored, and maintained its own silos of pertinent citizen information.  But to streamline the delivery of programs and services, information must be now be shared across departments in a secure and trustworthy manner.  Using a Business Intelligence consistent layer for effective information management allows agencies to share a consistent, convergent view of citizen data.
With access to shared electronic information, agencies are then able to streamline administrative processes by eliminating multiple requests for citizen input, repetitive data entry and errors related to manual data processing.
Protect Citizen Data, Ensure Audibility, Demonstrate Trust
Government organizations can safeguard citizen privacy by monitoring citizens’ data based on its sensitivity and need for confidentiality, restricting access to data based on user rights and citizen consent and conducting audits to determine who is accessing the data - both from within and outside the government agency.
With a consistent Business Intelligence technology platform, it is possible to audit results back to their source, making it easier for agencies to comply with legal and legislative requirements.  By conducting effective audits, agencies can identify malpractice, take the appropriate action and help demonstrate / build citizen trust.
The ongoing debate as to whether Governments should have a unique view of the citizen has in many countries being addressed by a legal framework through regulatory authorities with the result that having a unique view in most cases is not acceptable.
On the other hand, providing the citizen with his/her global view of dealings and information with Agencies has not really being addressed though the technological capabilities exist.  As a result citizens are often confused as to which agency is responsible for what.
Making a citizen’s information available to them could be the best promotion vehicle for e-Inclusion, especially if it can be provided with a complete view of his/hers dealings at both central and local levels.
By the same mechanism we may envision that the citizen could be provided with privacy information relating to the access of his/hers digital records.  For instance reporting of access to personal records, which information was accessed and by whom and whether there was a legitimate need to do so, would increase trust and effectively endorse the citizen centric scheme.
Moving away from Silos
In the United Kingdom a vast reform of the legal system has been taking place and, with the creation of the National Offenders Management Services, an organizational link was established between the Prosecution and the Sentence Application functions.
The Carter Review stated there should be end-to-end management of all offenders, whether they were serving sentences in prison or performing  community service, in order to cut re-offending rates and improve rehabilitation.  As a new single service NOMS is responsible for designing interventions services for offenders that are intended to reduce re-offending and protect the public.
It brings together the work of correctional services including prisons and probation.  It ensures that court sentences are effectively implemented across organizational boundaries and that the focus is on end to end management of the offender.
A range of organizations from all sectors work with NOMS to contribute to its aims by providing services which include offender management, custody, community punishments, and programmes and interventions.  NOMS has a combined workforce of approximately 70,000 people with a budget in excess of £4bn.  At any given time, NOMS will be dealing with about 225,000 offenders, both in custody and in the community.
To support its operations NOMS deliver C-NOMIS, an end-to-end offender management system that consolidates more than 200 disparate prison and probation service databases to provide a single, accurate profile of an offender.
Eventually, more than 80,000 users within the criminal justice community, including courts, prison and probation services, police forces and other partner organizations, will be able to share up-to-the-minute information for more efficient and effective management of offenders.
Defense Business Transformation
Defence forces have to face a radically changing world.  They have to fulfil requirements for new missions, peace keeping, humanitarian, conflict resolution or interposition, very often in an international environment or in a multinational operative group.
While they have to perform these new missions, defence forces are also required to maintain traditional capabilities to face a traditional threat or conflict.  
The ability to perform ‘the mission’ is centred around the concept of forces readiness, which encompasses equipment and materiel readiness, as well as human readiness, the ability to sustain a projection from a 1000 kilometres to 4000 kilometres away with all the necessary logistics & life support functions.
The ability to assess, monitor and qualify readiness in all its aspects is now central to decision making.
The US Air Force Material Command (AFMC) is responsible for the maintenance of 6,000+ aircraft, millions of parts and a $33 billion parts inventory at 184 air bases around the world.  Prior to integrating its maintenance system with its supply chain (together with its contracting and financial systems) on average more than 7% of the U.S. Air Force’s fleet was grounded due to supply shortages & inadequate or insufficient spare parts to sustain wartime operations.
Consolidating data from 26 legacy systems improved ability to assess aircraft readiness, predict availability and provide commanders with better knowledge about aircraft availability.  In addition, it generated savings of more than $600 million in excess parts, recouped $300,000 worth of inventory within first week of project implementation, with an estimated 144% projected return on investment.
In Europe, in order to monitor the level of readiness of its forces, the French navy implemented a project providing intelligence (project Euterpe) encompassing all its forces components; surface battle crafts, air force navy, attack submarines and navy commandos.
The information is shared at all levels, providing input from the Ministry of Defense staff up to the parliamentary defense commission for policy discussions. The project also provides, details of hours at sea per ship, personnel requisition for missions, the necessary data through the Activity Base Costs system to track and allocate costs – something that is extremely useful when trying to claim costs back for participating in UN operations.
Financial and Performance Management Insight
Insight to cost of activities of units to deliver services and programs is more ad more necessary to validate the resources requirements.  It is the mandatory item to input into the planning budgetary cycle to transform the organization to a result or outcome driven outfit.
For example, Bromford Housing Group is dedicated to the provision of affordable housing and associated care and support services.  The not for profit organisation manages or provides support to over 19,000 homes across Central England and the South West.
Using the multi-dimensional analysis, users can immediately ascertain, for example: the number of properties in a specific area that are ground floor, wheelchair enabled, with a rent under a specific value.
Human Capital Management
Employees are the single largest expense for most public sector organisations, accounting for up to 80% of annual budgets.  In order to truly transform government, you must harness the value of human resources to implement changes that support a more effective, efficient organisation.
In order to more effectively use human resources (HR), agencies need insight into actionable information, such as the number of civil servants per unit, retirement forecasts, and corresponding replacement needs.  This requires consolidation of information from disparate, disconnected databases and management systems.
With budgetary constraints, supporting workforce mobility has become a key challenge.  
HR managers need the facility to identify employees for promotion into vacant positions, pinpoint individuals with special skills required to transition into new jobs and better understand the competencies required to fill open positions.
Leverage Sophisticated Analysis
Performance management applications enable health and human service agencies to improve performance by actively monitoring meaningful and measurable goals and trends across providers, programs and agencies.
For example, using powerful data integration capabilities, analysis of patient medical records can help to identify risks, trends and activity across providers (hospitals, general physicians and specialists) and patient populations.
This single view of aggregated activities can also help health authorities for the early identification of medication incompatibility, abnormal patient behaviour and risk of pandemics.

Click here to register to receive your free copy of the Business Objects White Paper on ‘Government Enabling Transformation’

Click here to register to receive the Bathwick Research Paper ‘Reporting Efficiencies in the Public Sector’

'BOBI' helps Police with Inquiries

'BOBI' helps Police with Inquiries
For the last few years, Staffordshire Police Force have been using Business Objects Business Intelligence solutions to provide a single reporting infrastructure for a consolidated view of up-to-date information that supports tactical & strategic decision-making and drive performance improvements.
The improvements in information availability the system provided led to Staffordshire Police initially achieving the largest performance improvement of any force in the UK and they are now one of the top forces in the National Police performance league table (heading the table in 2005/06).
Located in the centre of the UK, Staffordshire Police Force has to respond to a full range of both urban & rural crimes and the force is committed to creating a ‘Safer Staffordshire’ by:
* reducing crime and the fear of crime
* promoting community safety and
* increasing public confidence in the justice system
In order to achieve these goals, performance-led policing has become increasingly important in recent years, enabling a police force to become more proactive and concentrate resources in the most appropriate & efficient manner to address specific areas of criminal activity. This shift has been encouraged by the UK government’s introduction of comparative performance statistics targets, that are designed to deliver police force accountability and support both national & local policing strategies.
Indeed, only in July 2007 the government announced a new era of simple, accessible local crime information for all is at the heart of the Government's new crime strategy.  From July 2008, everyone will have access to a straightforward, street-by-street ‘story of crime’ in their area from local police crime data posted on the Internet’.

To successfully introduce intelligence-led policing and to meet high standards of government performance targets, Staffordshire Police needed to improve the accuracy & availability of information throughout the Force. “To determine resource allocation and maximise operational effectiveness requires access to real-time information,” said Superintendent Kevin O’Leary. “Furthermore, the development of tactical and long-term strategies to address specific criminal activity demands accurate analysis of up-to-date crime figures.”
In common with other police forces, Staffordshire Police had a multiplicity of legacy systems, all of which included vital information required for performance monitoring.  In addition to Command & Control, which is the core application used to manage emergency calls, information was held within Custody, Crime, Human Resources, Case Preparation and Firearms applications, along with many others.
Staffordshire Police wanted to create a consolidated information platform based upon a single reporting technology.  This could then be used to deliver a consistent view of information to a wide range of users across the organisation.
Staffordshire Police turned to Business Objects business intelligence (BI) solutions and deployed BusinessObjects™ and WebIntelligence®, the integrated information query, reporting and analysis solutions, to over 500 users.
Ron Bentley, Development Manager, explained: “Staffordshire Police already had existing experience of using Business Objects solutions and this, combined with its role as the reporting tool of choice for existing and future national police systems throughout the UK, made it the obvious platform to standardise on for information delivery within our local force.”
 Information delivered by Business Objects BI solutions now underpins virtually every part of day-to-day policing at Staffordshire Police.  Reports are refreshed at 8am daily, which means managers can monitor performance and set strategies accordingly based on up-to-date figures. This information is shared throughout the organisation from the Chief Constable to patrol officers. , which means managers can monitor performance and set strategies accordingly based on up-to-date figures. This information is shared throughout the organisation from the Chief Constable to patrol officers.
“Prior to implementing Business Objects BI solutions, Command and Control reports were not available until three days after month end, while standard internal performance reports could not be delivered until three or four weeks after month end. Today, consolidated information is delivered on the first day of the month, while users also have access to real-time Command and Control information,” said Bentley.
Key benefits include:
 • Performance measurement & management: Daily information analysis & reports are used to track overall force performance, both in incidence of crime and detection rates.  If targets are not being met, then senior staff receive alerts enabling them to take appropriate action, such as redirecting resources towards a specific area.
Maximised resource allocation: Detailed analysis of crime trends has led to a change in shift patterns for staff, particularly for specialised roles such as Scene of Crime Officers, to ensure their availability at peak crime times.  In addition, Staffordshire Police can identify activities that prompt frequent police calls and demand disproportionate amounts of time, such as non-serious incidents at supermarkets or nightclubs.  This type of crime deflects resources from other activity.  By identifying these problems, the Force can enable these organisations to deal with more minor issues themselves, freeing up police officers’ time and further improving staff effectiveness.
Individual officer analysis: Information regarding individual officers such as days worked, crimes attended and solved, proportions of arrests versus cautions, can be monitored and used for appraisals & development.  It also ensures that officers treat the public consistently when they are brought into custody.
Reports for the government and other third parties: Staffordshire Police can now easily provide monthly, quarterly and annual performance reports, covering over 20 key performance indicators, to the government.  It also shares information with third parties, such as the county council and fire service, to support Crime & Disorder Reduction Partnerships.
“Business Objects BI solutions are enabling us to drive performance improvements. Staffordshire Police Force now spends more time analysing rather than collating information and users can drill down to attain detailed understanding and highlight underlying trends in crime,” said Bentley.
 “We run under the National Intelligence Model, which means we target officers into specific areas rather than operate a random patrol,” explained Superintendent O’Leary. “Business Objects supports this intelligence-led policing and has been instrumental in improving Staffordshire Police’s performance in detecting and reducing crime. As a result, we are now amongst the top few forces in the National Police performance league table and have set a precedent for the rest of the country.”
This article was previously published 19/10/2005 and has now been updated for re-publication

Click here to register to receive your free copy of the Business Objects White Paper on ‘Government Enabling Transformation’

Click here to register to receive the Bathwick Research Paper ‘Reporting Efficiencies in the Public Sector’

Reporting Efficiency in the Public Sector

Reporting Efficiency in the Public Sector
As mentioned in the article - Transforming Government Performance – a survey was conducted by The Balthwick Group (November 2005) which considered the UK public sector’s ability to satisfy information delivery and reporting requirements, particularly in view of the Government’s increasing reliance on setting & monitoring performance targets.
What follows is a précis of the full report - 'Reporting Efficiency in the Public Sector' - which is being made available to WGPlus readers courtesy of Business Objects and the Bathwick Group Ltd:
The UK public sector has seen a significant increase in the amount of reporting and monitoring of government-set targets over the past several years.
The publication of the Gershon Report (July 2004) greatly increased emphasis on efficiency - one impact of which is that departments generally need to do more (improved front line services) with less (fewer backroom assets). 
This has meant that public sector managers have had to become more focused on effective measurement and resource management than ever before, yet have had less time and resource to meet those requirements. 
Inefficiencies in management information systems have therefore become even more onerous and need to be addressed as a priority.
The research was undertaken to establish answers to three questions:
· How much has the increase in public sector target monitoring increased the requirement for reporting? 
·  How reliable is the data, and how traceable is that data if its quality needs to be checked? 
·  Does the reporting process work efficiently, what is the impact on managers and how could the situation be improved?
The Monitoring Requirement
* 75% of respondents report a much greater burden of target-monitoring compared with 5 years ago of target-monitoring compared with 5 years ago
* 77% said that there are too many Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), and
* 58% aren’t sure which of them are important 
* 60% say that reporting requirements change quite regularly, and
* 70% that they have trouble keeping up with the changes
Bathwick asked how many hours respondents spend in a typical week getting the information they need to do their job, or to pass onto others to do theirs. The answer was an amazing 9.5 hours – or around a quarter of the working week. 
The good news though is that 53% of respondents agreed that managing by target had made their organisations run more effectively to some extent.
With regards to KPIs, Bathwick couldn’t say in this research whether all those targets or KPIs are necessary or not, but they could clearly show that the value of the work that the respondents are doing in this areas is not clear to most of them. 
Questionable reliability
The key issue of this research is data reliability and traceability. Given that the reporting requirement is greatly increased, it is important to understand how accurate that reporting is, as there is little point in trying to manage against targets if those targets cannot be accurately measured and reported.
The survey found that
* Just 3% are confident that all their data is both accurate and up-to-date
* Only 48.5% feels that the data is good enough for “practical purposes”
* 80% say that much of the data they require comes from other parts of their organisations or other departments, so they are relying on others for accuracy and timeliness
* Two-thirds admitted that it would take a long time to trace reported data back to source, if its quality were to be questioned
* 79% of respondents agreed that the data they can access is not always up-to-date
* Most respondents (86%) say that the data they need is available but in disparate systems, and takes quite a lot of time to pull together , and takes quite a lot of time to pull together
* 63% say that they produce a large number of reports that are not needed any more
* 70.3% say that they have so many things to monitor that it is difficult to keep up with
* 69.4% of respondents stated that the things on which they need to report change quite regularly
* Just 10% are certain that their systems are fit for purpose; 58% say they aren’t
Much reporting is structured, but the ability (or not) to produce response to ad hoc requests for information is particularly indicative of the responsiveness and effectiveness of reporting systems and the degree to which the reporting function is automated. 
40% of respondents have to wait a few days (or weeks!) to get a question answered and even when they get the answers, there may be a limit to the usefulness of the information, due to its ‘age’.
80% would require some or total re-working manually (for example through a spreadsheet), adding to the workload of individuals already busy with standard reporting requirements, and the rest of their workloads.
The impact
* Respondents spend on average 9.5 hours a week on reporting (25% + of their working week)
* Half of that time is spent reporting on government-set targets.
What should be done?
* 82% said that integrating data across their organisations more effectively would “significantly” cut the time they spend on producing required data and reports. 
* A similar proportion of respondents (79%) believe that integrating applications or databases would be the answer.
* It is clear that the requirement for reporting in the public sector has increased greatly over the past 5 years, and that much of the data used is of unknown reliability, which throws the effectiveness of much of the reporting into question. 
* Information systems are also not flexible enough to handle ad hoc requests and require a lot of human input to produce even the standard reports that are known & planned. 
* These are not problems that are likely to improve by themselves – quite the opposite. 
Bathwick make the following recommendations:
* The wasted effort in producing reports that are no longer needed should be addressed
* Senior managers should review the KPIs and targets that are in place, and determine which could be cut. They should also communicate why the required monitoring is important
* Data sources should be brought closer together, and integrated where possible to improve both traceability and reduce the work involved in manual integration
*Better extraction and analysis tools would also go some way towards reducing the reporting workload of managers
These findings suggest that it costs the public sector a great deal of money & time simply to report on targets which are used to monitor effectiveness.  A little ironic, but a serious issue in terms of human effectiveness. 
But it is clear also that much of that time and money is wasted and puts a great strain on the individuals involved throughout public sector organisations
The first two recommendations are relatively simple to do, but bringing data sources closer together will be much more problematic. 
Departmental boundaries (internal & external) are often difficult to overcome and there is sometimes legislation in the way (for example on data privacy).
That is no reason to avoid addressing the issues however, and using better data integration tools may provide options to ease both the integration problem and the reporting burden on managers.
Click Here to receive the full version of 'Reporting Efficiencies in the Public Sector', prepared for Business Objects by the Bathwick Group.
Further information
Jonathan Steel
The Bathwick Group Ltd.
Knyvett House
The Causeway
TW18 3BA
Tel: +44 (0)1784 895022
Related White Paper
Click here to receive your free copy of the Business Objects White Paper on ‘Government Enabling Transformation’

Value for Money - The Holy Grail of an Efficient Public Sector

Value for Money - The Holy Grail of an Efficient Public Sector
Wired-Gov’s editor comments on the need for effective reporting structures and systems in the light of recent news from the public sector:
The one thing that all political parties seem agreed on is that New Labour’s decade long increase in public spending levels will continue, but that something needs to be done about monitoring where and how it is currently spent, because business intelligence is the key to helping improve efficiency, saving money, reducing fiscal waste and improving the quality of services.
In 2004 the Government announced waste-cutting measures based on Sir Peter Gershon’s broad brush public sector efficiency review entitled Releasing Resources to the Front-line, which identified potential savings of £21.5bn by 2008 and concluded that 84,000 civil service jobs were surplus to requirements.
Yet just recently a report was published claiming that excessive workloads are forcing over half of full time civil servants to work over and above their contracted hours, with 45.8% surveyed working between 40 and 48 hours and 1 in 20 breaking the working time regulations by working over 49 hours per week.
Undoubtedly historical policies and staffing assignments have resulted in the need to question not whether public sector workers are working hard, but whether they are being asked to do the right work, so as to meet ever changing needs.
Despite the near trebling of NHS spending, a 5-year review by the Kings Fund, appears to demonstrate the need for even more spending in future, yet everyone acknowledges that only a relatively small fraction of the extra funding ended up being spent in priority areas and (although things have improved) many of the same old issues need resolving (bed blocking, overspending by PCTs, etc.).

Another big-spending area – the criminal justice system – has seen Home Secretaries come & go under questionable circumstances (basically because their information systems were not fit-for-purpose) and even the effectiveness of government policies questioned.

Is there any hope?
Yet there have been some shining beacons among public sector organisations (PSOs):
* Staffordshire police force have risen to the top of the Home Office’s efficiency league following the introduction of a single reporting infrastructure for a consolidated view of up-to-date information that supports tactical & strategic decision-making and drives performance improvements.
* The MoD has re-organised how it maintains and repairs Harrier and Tornado aircraft and has reduced costs by a total of £1.4bn over the last six years and availability targets for both the Harrier and Tornado are now being met.

* Even the criminal justice system has ‘seen the error of its ways’ and created the National Offenders Management Services, which uses C-NOMIS to provide an end-to-end offender management system that consolidates more than 200 disparate prison & probation service databases to provide a single, accurate profile of an offender.
Eventually, more than 80,000 users within the criminal justice community, including courts, prison & probation services, police forces and other partner organizations, will be able to share up-to-the-minute information for more efficient and effective management of offenders.
What they all demonstrate is that having a budget is only the start for managers in delivering a service and that it is not how much money one has to spend that counts, but rather the ability to monitor the effects & benefits of that expenditure that enables one to obtain value for money.
As the old saying goes: “If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it”.
So how does one measure service delivery?
In many public sector organisations, business intelligence software is playing a key role in successful performance management initiatives because it allows managers fast & easy access to up-to-date information and gives them a comprehensive view of what is happening in their area of responsibility.
The information that business intelligence provides aids decision making and helps executives monitor and manage performance.
Although business intelligence solutions were originally adopted by commercial organisations, in many cases public sector organisations’ use of business intelligence is ahead of their commercial counterparts.
Increasingly, public sector managers are using business intelligence dashboards – visual displays that provide up-to-date Key Performance Indicator status reports – and scorecards to track performance and budgets.
They enable them to define strategy as a series of metrics and set thresholds that trigger alerts when they are exceeded.
One area where business intelligence systems have been particularly successful for public sector organisations is in human resources.  
With the help of tighter procedures for logging information such as sick leave and shift patterns, managers can now use business intelligence to effectively monitor this data to match skills and availability more closely to demand and introduce new procedures for managing absences.
With the use of ‘Bank’ and agency staff being very much an issue, especially as Acute Hospital Trusts and Primary Care Trusts are struggling to minimise overspend, this facility has to become a ‘must have’ requirement for their information systems.
And yet the really frightening thing is
The current trend in public sector service delivery is for them to increasingly be delivered by co-service partners – Local Authorities, Primary Care Trusts and Third Sector Organisations – and even located in co-funded service delivery points (ex. Children s Centres).
This will make it even more important that expenditure and outcomes can be monitored in order that each partner can justify their budget contribution.
Political Pressure
Increasingly political pressure and censure on a government’s policies comes not from the ‘Opposition’, but from all-party committees who call Ministers, Civil Servants and others before them for questioning as part of an inquiry.
One such inquiry has just been started recently by the Scottish Parliament's Justice Committee, which is focussing on how police officers in Scotland are managed and deployed. Committee members will examine a range of issues surrounding the effective use of police resources will include the increase of 1,000 officers proposed by the Scottish Government.
The best way for police forces (and others working in PSOs) to be able to answer the questions of such committees is to be able to present up to date data, backed up by an historical audit trail that highlights differing outcomes that resulted from fluctuating policies and resource allocations.
The best way to do that, of course, is by those same organisations ensuring that they utilise business intelligence systems to facilitate the day to day management of their services.
Government pronouncements on making PSOs more efficient and transforming how they deliver services are just ‘words’ which may (or more probably not) come true at some point in the future.
Yet neither solution can be found in the government imposing key targets and data collection systems from above, as all that does is divert scarce resources into ‘proving’ the targets have been met rather than actually working towards achieving them on a sustainable basis.
Effort has to be put into encouraging PSOs to develop real-time reporting systems, because (as we said at the beginning of the article) business intelligence is the key to helping improve efficiency, saving money, reducing fiscal waste and improving the quality of services.
One only has to look at organisations like the Staffordshire Police Force to see what can be achieved if the users of the system are involved in its development and believe that it will help them deliver a better service.
If its only purpose is to satisfy the needs of central government spin doctors who want to ‘prove’ the government’s policies are working, then it will be a waste of time.
Simon Wane
Editor Wired-Gov

Click here to register to receive your free copy of the Business Objects White Paper on ‘Government Enabling Transformation’

Click here to register to receive the Bathwick Research Paper ‘Reporting Efficiencies in the Public Sector’

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