News : More Jobs to Go in Fife Council Service Delivery Overhaul
Fife, Scotland, Nov, 2017 -- Sweeping changes in the way Fife Council delivers services will bring further job losses as part of a bid to slash spending by £25 million.
A reform in the local authority will include an improved online service, consolidation of telephone customer services and fewer buildings, with greater community use of schools, community centres and libraries rather than council offices for face-to-face contact.
An "unprecedented level of workforce change and reduction" will include an unspecified number of posts being axed, in addition to the 1,150 affected by previously agreed savings.
The Change to Deliver programme will include shifting a significant amount of customer contact online, making it easier for people to find the information they need, make transactions digitally and reach appropriate officers.
Procurement of outside services will also be reduced and service delivery processes improved by investing in and making better use of technology and information.
While the main aim is to make the council more efficient, it is expected the changes will tackle issues which customers and staff complain about, including responsiveness and management approaches.
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The council’s Labour co-leader Councillor David Ross said change was inevitable, amid financial challenges and increasing demand.
He said: "We can either plan that change and try to deliver it in a planned and sustainable way or we can wait for it to hit us and have a panicked reaction, which will not be good for our services or our staff.
"There are also positive reasons for taking this approach. We need to be as efficient as possible so we make the best use of our resources."
SNP co-leader Councillor David Alexander said: "We have thousands of dedicated staff who all want to do their best. The more we can make ourselves efficient, the more we can invest in frontline services."
Fife Liberal Democrat leader Councillor Tim Brett said a lot of the council’s systems were "cranky" and highlighted the capabilities of private sector websites such as Amazon’s.
He said: "This is the standard we need to aspire to."
However, he stressed many people were unable or unwilling to deal with the council online.
He said: "I was happy to see there is going to an assisted service by phone for people who can’t or don’t want to do it online.
"Often these are elderly people and we do need to remember that."
Chief executive Steve Grimmond said the change "will have an impact on staff and numbers".
Analysis within the council found that the contact centre handled less than a quarter of telephone calls, a number of processes were duplicated across different departments, inefficiency in online processes and a legacy of more than 400 business systems with significant duplication.
More detailed planning is to be conducted before changes begin to be delivered in the first half of 2018.
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
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