Council of the Year Throwbacks - SHWD 2016

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To celebrate the tenth anniversary of the Public Sector Transformation Awards, we are taking a trip down memory lane to look at the past Council of the Year Winners.


2016: South Hams District Council and West Devon Borough Council

The winners of the iESE Council of the Year 2016 award were South Hams District Council  and West Devon Borough Council (SHWD) for their total transformation which allowed the two authorities to achieve a 30 per cent budget reduction

The two councils, which have been shared service partners since 2007, embarked on their transformational change programme at the end of 2013. The whole programme included changing their IT infrastructure, creating a behavioural framework to recruit against and introducing a new locality model with a group of staff trained to undertake tasks out in the community, such as play park inspections and water quality testing, for example. 

Steve Mullineaux, Deputy Head of Paid Service at South Hams District Council, notes that at the time of winning the iESE award in 2016, SHWD had already made significant headway with the transformation programme which had not been due to complete until 2018. "By 2016 we had done three quarters and all the hard bits, such as the technology and people," he says. "There was quite an investment in technology, property and redundancy compensation, but the payback for both councils was less than three years. By 2016 we were making real savings."

The two councils applied for the iESE award in 2016 because they realised their whole system approach and applying a case-based management system was groundbreaking. It also had an idea that it could potentially help other councils achieve similar transformations too. "We have worked with iESE and other partners to provide some consultancy for councils going through change programmes. In the last twelve months it has generated around £100,000 of income in consultancy where we have supported other councils," Mullineaux explains. 

SHWD did not overly-publicise the award to the public because the programme had been about achieving cost savings without affecting the quality of its services, but it did ensure it was publicised internally. "We asked Dr Andrew Larner from iESE to come and present the award to make sure members understood this was a milestone in the programme," Mullineaux adds. 

Winning the award was reassuring for staff members who had been through the period of change too. "It gave them reassurance that the management team and members had got it right," he adds.  

The 2016 accolade did not signal the end of the change programme either, with SHWD continually looking to improve. It has just benchmarked itself for customer service against The Institute of Customer Services to see what it can do next. "We have done revolution and then evolution. The programme was about looking at everything but now it is a continuous improvement process," Mullineaux adds. 


Get the recognition you deserve today, and apply for the Public Sector Transformation Awards 2019 now!