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Statement - Public Service Reform

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Wednesday 14 December 2016

A progress update to States Members

In September 2015, the States of Deliberation acknowledged the need for significant change and endorsed "A Framework for Public Service Reform". This ambitious programme goes beyond what was delivered previously by the Financial Transformation Programme (FTP) and aims to transform the organisation, management and delivery of public services.

As agreed in the States' debate, as Policy & Resources' political lead for Public Service Reform, I am pleased to be able to provide you with this update on Public Service Reform which summarises:

The Policy & Resources Committee is providing the political oversight of and assurance to Public Service Reform.  

Although we are only one year into a lengthy journey, a great deal of work on transforming the delivery of public services is already happening across the States of Guernsey, not just in the initiatives described in this document, but in almost every part of the organisation. It is vital that it succeeds - the increased efficiency and effectiveness of services will help us maintain services as demand increases, while at the same time controlling costs and expenditure.

I know that many States Members are directly involved in supporting this work, and I would encourage all Members to take an active interest in ensuring it meets the ambitious targets that have been set. Whilst inevitably there will be greater opportunities in some areas than others, the transformation of public services is essential; simply making minor alterations to the way we are already doing things will not be enough to secure the quality, affordability or sustainability of public services in the long term.  I am confident that in working collaboratively both within Government and with the public service we can make the changes that our community needs. 

As ever, please contact me if you require any further information.

Yours sincerely, 

Deputy Gavin St Pier

President, Policy & Resources Committee



Within the Public Service Reform framework the organisation has committed to the following:

  1. Improving customer engagement and satisfaction
  2. Delivering and demonstrating value for money
  3. Improving staff engagement and satisfaction
  4. Enhancing organisational performance measurement and management

The organisation is working towards this in different ways: through re-designing our services; piloting new ways of working; improving the services we currently provide; and making day to day changes to the way we do things when we have good ideas.

With almost 5,400 States of Guernsey employees involved, Public Service Reform is a sizeable initiative and as such has been divided into several programmes of work across the spectrum of public service including health and social care, education and training, and justice and equality. The programmes are supported by other work streams, including improving our technology and making best use of our buildings.

The many work streams under each individual programme are not detailed in this document, as updates in areas such as health and social care and justice and equality will be provided to States Members by the Committees involved in due course. This update covers progress on the following States-wide initiatives:

People Plan

The People Plan sets out the activities required to ensure that the public service is resourced adequately and appropriately and is fit for purpose. It is about ensuring that we have the right people with the right skills for the future

Achievements in the last year include:

Planned future initiatives

Over the last five years the overall size of the public service has reduced by over three per cent (ie by 171 posts), despite the requirement to increase in areas such as health. However it is clear that we need to strike an even better balance between investment in the staff that provide our public services and management of the cost of staff across the whole of the public sector.

With this in mind, terms and conditions are to be evaluated with a view to ensuring we have a pay system which supports organisational objectives. This will include evaluating the extent to which harmonising terms, conditions and pay spines across staff groups can lead to efficiencies and potential savings whilst ensuring fair and equitable pay for all. A review of the impact of incremental pay rises is also planned.

Proactively managing the cost of the public service pay bill (£215m from general revenue in 2015) is essential, and realistic measures are already being taken to reduce this, something which will continue to be progressed in 2017.For example, earlier this year the President of the Policy & Resources Committee reported a number of measures being taken by officers to address the budget deficit, and I can confirm that £950k of the in-year savings signed off as a result of these measures have been pay-related.

In the next 10 years over 30% of the public sector workforce will reach retirement age. The public sector has an annual turnover of its work force of 14%, which equates to approximately 750 staff. As public sector reform progresses this staff turnover provides opportunity and flexibility to create change and do things differently.

SMART Guernsey

SMART Guernsey is the name given to the work stream devoted to enabling the use of technology to transform public service delivery within the Bailiwick.

Ongoing work

As the public service becomes increasingly reliant on technology, a strong digital foundation is essential. An IT Improvement Programme has been running throughout 2016 to examine and address both IT staffing and processes.  As the support of the IT function is fundamental to the efficiency of our business it is vital that it is fit for purpose. This Improvement Programme has resulted in a step change in the way IT projects are managed, a full service catalogue of the IT services provided and the imminent implementation of a new helpdesk system.  From 1st January 2017, all IT teams will be combined into a single function that will ensure IT staff collaborate efficiently and that services can be further reviewed and enhanced.

SMART Guernsey is supporting the re-design of services, the automation of middle and back office activities, and increasing the number of transactions or service requests that can be completed on-line. This shift from over the counter services to online processes has the potential to reduce costs significantly, whilst increasing accessibility and improving customer service.  However this will not mean the end of face-to-face contact - it simply means that those who are able to use online services will be encouraged to do so, but staff will remain available to support people who, for whatever reason, may need assistance.

SMART Guernsey is also ensuring staff and customers have access to the right information, in the right format, at the right time. An example of this is the overhaul of the website during 2016 which makes it easier for our customers to access the information they have told us is most important to them.

Similarly, working with the States' Chief Information Officer, staff from the Office of the Committee for Health & Social Care have reached agreement with NHS Digital for access to a number of their core information systems. This will enable the automatic booking of off-island procedures which will improve the patient experience and give greater clarity on off-island secondary healthcare spend. More importantly, the clinical information essential for caring for patients on-island after treatment in the UK will be in their electronic health and social care records (EHSCR) and available to local clinicians when required to manage their on-island care.

Also during 2016, staff from the Office of the Committee for Education Sport & Culture, supported by their delivery partner, XMA, and officers from the Information Systems and Services (ISS) team, have completed a comprehensive review of the digital infrastructure being supplied to our schools. The measures implemented as a result of this review have provided an enhanced service and brought about a significant reduction in the level of IT-related disruption to teaching time.

Another digital initiative already implemented as part of Public Service Reform is the introduction of Video Teleconferencing (VTC) technology in a number of States' locations. In Health and Social Care this has already enabled patients in Alderney to be assessed by clinicians without having to travel to Guernsey for an appointment. More than 2,700 flights were taken in 2015 by Alderney residents travelling to Guernsey for medical appointments, many of which were routine - a significant number of those consultations can now be safely and effectively carried out by VTC as familiarity with the system increases. Further opportunities to use VTC are now being explored.

Next steps

From a Public Service Reform perspective in 2017, SMART Guernsey activity is likely to focus on three core areas:

  1. Exploiting opportunities to improve digital efficiency by automating operational processes, thereby using technology to ensure ongoing revenue savings. Pilots to test the potential scale and scope for this are expected to start as early as Q1 next year and if successful could be rolled out further during 2017
  2. Stabilising the IT infrastructure in Health & Social Care, where a number of priority investments are planned next year, including the replacement of the Local Area Network (LAN) and approximately 1,000 out-of-date PCs
  3. Refreshing/replacing the behind-the-scenes IT infrastructure that makes everything work. This will start next year and is expected to run through 2018 as well.

Property Rationalisation

Rationalising the States' property holdings has been a strategic objective for some time and projects are now emerging that will have a significant impact over the next two years. The transfer of responsibility for the strategic management of the States' property assets to the States Trading Supervisory Board with a specific mandate to improve the return on investment in property assets is also an important step forward. However, the aims remain the same: to make best use of the properties in the States of Guernsey's portfolio, ensuring buildings are fit for purpose, used efficiently and effectively, and can support Public Service Reform.

From a Public Service Reform perspective, it has been agreed that we must vacate two properties, Cornet Street and Grange Road House, by the end of 2017. Both properties will be made available to the States Trading Supervisory Board and may be disposed of, which would provide a capital receipt, or let, which would generate an ongoing revenue stream. Other opportunities to rationalise the property portfolio to meet Public Service Reform aims (customer-focused services, facilitation of working together, co-locating similar services, etc.) form part of the wider programmes of work being undertaken as part of the Transforming Health & Social Care programme and the Home Operational Services Transformation programme. Updates on these initiatives will be provided by the relevant committees in due course.

Contributions and Taxation Services (CATS)

The aim of the CATS Programme is to create a customer-focused and cost efficient service for the collection of income tax revenue and social insurance contributions, supported by an efficient organisational structure and IT systems.

An Income Tax Improvement Programme is also underway which includes initiatives to improve the service provided to customers, measure business performance, and improve operational services.

During 2016, a number of improvements in the services provided by the Income Tax Office have been delivered. These include:

Following the introduction of these initiatives the number of individual registrations for online tax services has increased to almost 27,000. A significant improvement in service has been realised, with around 60% of assessments submitted online now being processed within 10 days.

Work to develop the operational design of a combined collections function will commence in January 2017 with a report expected to come to the States before the end of 2017. If approved, work on the transition to the new model could commence as early as 2018.

The 'reform dividend'

The Public Service Reform document endorsed by the States of Deliberation in September 2015 sets out the concept of a 'reform dividend' for transformation projects.

Initiatives which accrue financial benefits will bring a return on investment known as the reform dividend where cost savings (or income generated) can be used to:

Since the end of the Financial Transformation Programme, the responsibility for the identification, delivery and reporting of cost reduction or efficiency improvement initiatives has been with individual Committees (previously Departments).

Whilst not delivered directly under the banner of Public Service Reform, a survey undertaken in September 2016 suggests that almost £1.5m of cashable savings were made from over 60 different service led initiatives between January 2015 and June 2016. The savings from these initiatives have been re-invested by the service areas concerned.






Public Service Reform - Progress against actions

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