Wyre Forest Forward
What is Wyre Forest Forward?
Wyre Forest Forward is the name of the transformation programme we have been running since 2012. It is a review of all aspects of the council to ensure we continue to deliver a balanced and sustainable budget in line with the Financial Strategy 2017– 2020 and Efficiency Plan.
This year’s (2016/17) Wyre Forest Forward programme has a diverse range of projects which link to the council’s purposes, as described below. However it is not just about saving money. It is a comprehensive programme of transformation and includes changing our ways of working and culture to ensure that despite a reduced budget, we are still capable of delivering services of real value to our residents.
The Wyre Forest Forward programme also helps to deliver the two priorities set out in our Corporate Plan:
- Support you to contribute to a successful local economy
- Support you to live in clean, green and safe communities
The delivery of the corporate plan priorities is also supported by the council’s purposes which put our residents at the heart of everything we do. Guided by our purposes, which are grouped into themes of People, Place, Housing, Business, Planning and Enabling, we bring the right service teams together to help meet the needs of our customers as efficiently as possible. For more information, please visit.
Our values will also help us to achieve our transformation programme as they underpin the way we operate as an organisation. They influence our choices and our behaviours, and are the thread running through everything we do.
How we are changing
The Council has been, and continues to be, under severe financial pressure as set out in the narrative statement of the council’s 2015/16 Statement of Accounts. This has made us look even harder at the value of what we do and how we do it. We are therefore applying an approach called Systems Thinking to improve services by focusing on delivering exactly what the customer wants and at the first point of contact.
This method of transformation and delivery of savings is achieved by:
- Driving out and reducing waste and failure
- Improving services to the customer
- Involving staff in system redesign
- Using robust measures and clear methods
- Making decisions based on evidence and data
Wyre Forest Forward in action
Here are some examples of Wyre Forest Forward in action across different service teams.
Wyre Forest House - the story so far...
It's been almost four years since we moved in to Wyre Forest House, consolidating four offices into one and generating savings of more than £500,000 year on year in rent and running costs. From the start, it was our intention to generate income from the new building by offering work and meeting space to tenants from the public, private and third sector.
Read the story of Wyre Forest House so far and how it is not only a focus for the commercialisation of our property estate but is also providing the impetus to change the culture of our organisation and its fortunes for years to come.
It’s no longer APP risk!
As part of our push to continuously increase efficiency and improve our performance, colleagues at the Depot got to grips with the latest App technology to help manage and mitigate corporate safety risk for the council.
Adam Stockhall Place Co-ordinator and Adam Cooper, Play Inspector at the Depot were given access to an App which they accessed on iPads. They have piloted the use of the Play Inspection App since November 2015 to enable the team to carry out statutory inspections and monitor corporate safety risk issues.
Bloomin' fabulous idea to save money and improve diversity
Cultivating wild flowers rather than growing bedding plants from seed has already saved the council around £30,000 over the last two years and has been very popular with residents and visitors alike. The scheme also aims to improve the diversity and abundance of bees, hoverflies, and butterflies.
The scheme has been such a hit that we were invited to a seminar at Smyte Farm, home of the Worcestershire Wildlife Trust, to share the secrets of our success with Worcestershire County Council parks team.
Generating income by sharing our HQ
A national retail consultancy and events agency has become the latest company to move into offices at Wyre Forest House.
Moo and Goo, which creates, manages and delivers events and provides strategic consultancy for retailers up and down the UK, moved into the iconic council headquarters in Finepoint Way in February.
They join Worcestershire Regulatory Services, accountancy firm DHJH, computer software company Just2Easy and training provider KYP Health and Leisure Ltd.
Income from the tenancies go to help support council services.
Financial & Enabling Services Intervention
The Finance and Enabling Services Intervention continues following the successful implementation of the Phase 1 restructure in October 2015.
The new structure and processes are working well and the physical move of Support Services to join with the Finance team has helped develop new synergies. Phase 2 continues to progress positively with membership from across the council, keeping careful focus onretention of key controls in redesigned systems/processes.
We continue to progress a number of pilots for improved ways for working; these pilots are carefully evaluated and processes adjusted to ensure key controls to protect and maintain good governance. Continuous improvement is being achieved as the intervention progresses.
Revenues and Benefits Intervention
A review of Wyre Forest Council's revenues and benefits services resulted in a dramatic streamlining of the process involved in dealing with a claimant's change of circumstances - down from 52 steps to 11.
Teams now work more closely together and are able to fast track new claims, take changes of circumstances over the phone and by increasing the use of e-forms have reduced time spent on manual systems.
Development Control Review
Service improvements and savings resulted from the review of the council's development control systems, including:
- Re-designing planning application and administration processes to make them more efficient.
- Reviewing land charges and planning technical support methods.
- Working with Wolverley and Cookley Parish Councils to trial new ways of consulting.
- Restructuring the Development Control and Land Charges Team.