Essex County Council might not have its own glamorous television series dedicated to the highs and lows experienced on its own personal IT Service Management (ITSM) journey, yet.
But… the organisation has been doing admirable work in this field and helping (to some degree) local government overcome budget challenges
Excellence through ITIL
The council points out that a focus on improving and refining ITSM through the adoption and adaption of ITIL is helping local authorities to meet objectives despite continued financial pressures. A new case study, presented by AXELOS Global Best Practice, outlines how Essex County Council used ITIL to improve services while reducing costs.
As many readers will know, AXELOS is a joint venture set up in 2014 by the UK government and Capita to develop, manage and operate qualifications in best practice.
Local authorities have faced cuts in their budgets in recent years, and this is set to continue.
Councils in England have been warned that they face an average cut of 1.8% in their overall spending power, according to the provisional local government finance settlement for 2015-2016 published in December 2014*.
“Improving ITSM practices is helping councils with budget restrictions to meet service obligations. Councils across the country have seen very strong results – such as England’s second largest local authority, Essex County Council, which provides services to over 1.4m people,” said Kaimar Karu, head of ITSM at AXELOS.
The council’s 200-strong IT function supports around 10,000 staff and is led by Chief Information Officer (CIO) David Wilde, who joined the organization in 2011.
“When I joined the council the customer base had little or no faith in the IT department and there was a service report full of red Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s). We had silos of knowledge without adequate tools to enable sharing and out of date documentation,” said Wilde. “As the council was and is under continued financial pressure, with aspirations to become a truly mobile and flexible workforce, we needed to standardize our estate, meet our Service Level Agreement (SLA), gain control of the service, get our underpinning contracts into line and capitalize on sensible outsourcing opportunities, such as our networking.”
Wilde had previously worked for the UK Government and was involved in the early design and creation of ITIL, the most widely accepted approach to ITSM in the world. The use of ITIL over the past four years has helped to improve the council’s ITSM, with the whole IT department now trained to at least ITIL foundation level.
He confirms that ensuring everyone is trained to foundation level has really helped to gain momentum and increase awareness and understanding. ITIL provides the right blend of service management, infrastructure management and customer focus.
AXELOS’s Karu added, “The Essex County Council case study highlights how empowering stakeholders in every level of the organization is one of the main factors in the successful adoption of ITIL. David’s experience shows that ITIL plays an important role in successful delivery of services and can help public sector organizations improve service management, even during times of austerity.”
The full case study can be found on the AXELOS website at https://www.axelos.com/case-studies-and-white-papers/essex-county-council-an-itil-case-study