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Mobile and Agile Working at the Vale of Glamorgan Council

The Council has been introducing a variety of mobile and agile working practices as pilot projects over the past few years following the Council’s Management Conference of 2008 which was dedicated to these issues.

Pilots have been undertaken in the following areas:

  • Housing & Council Tax Benefits (Home Working).
  • Council Housing Repairs (Mobile Working, including imprest stock control). 
  • Fostering & Adoption (Digital pens and paper)

All pilots were successful and have been implemented as “business as usual” within these service areas.

Work is ongoing within the Housing Repairs section to extend the use of mobile technology from tradesmen to include inspectors. Efficiency savings and/or productivity/service improvements have been achieved in all areas.

The Council has a transformational change programme, OneVale, which is harnessing cutting edge technology and using this as a catalyst for change to deliver efficiency savings. Mobile Working is a specific project stream of the OneVale Programme, sponsored by the Council’s Head of Strategic ICT.

A Mobile Working Expo event was held in November 2009 to launch the mobile working project stream. Major suppliers such as O2 were invited to share experiences. This highly successful event developed an understanding amongst managers of the potential mobile working has to deliver process improvements and savings.

The OneVale Programme has implemented the Oracle e-business suite for core functions such as HR and Finance. As Oracle is a web-based application, the Council is able to make use of mobile working to access these systems.

Several other technical infrastructure developments have been made, including the introduction of VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) telephony and “pull-print” multi-functional devices which allow secure access to printing, scanning and copying anywhere in the Council’s office estate. The Council has also invested in the implementation of wireless networks in all of the major Council buildings to facilitate access to systems and resources and is about to embark on a WiMax project to extend the wireless network across the whole of the Vale of Glamorgan giving secure access to systems and resources wherever staff may be working.

Current mobile working projects being managed as part of the OneVale Programme include:

  • Use of laptops in Children and Adult’s Social Services for remote/home working. 
  • Use of digital pens, paper and electronic forms in Children and Adult’s Social Services for remote working.
  • Use of laptops/tablets in Building Control and Planning Development Control for remote working. 
  • Use of laptops and “soft phones” in School Improvement (Education) for remote/home working. 
  • Procurement of an on-line resource booking solution to support the management and availability of resources such as hot-desks. 
  • Implementation of a web-based conferencing solution to enable face-to-face meetings to take place over the internet with capabilities for sharing computer desktops.

The OneVale Programme includes an additional project called the Space Project. This project is analysing corporate office accommodation in order to identify potential for rationalisation and savings.

Plans are being finalised at present with a view to begin making physical changes in the 2011/12 financial year. Significant savings are anticipated as part of this work.

Additionally, the Council is developing a “Smarter Working” policy. This policy will provide a framework for staff and managers to work within when considering mobile, home and office-based agile working (including hot desking). The provision of a checklist to support managers in diagnosing whether posts/staff are suitable for different working styles has been devised. This policy will be used in conjunction with the Space Project to deliver savings and more flexible working practices.

Further information is available from Dave Vining

June 2011

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