measuring the trends of your back office


By John Hughes, CIPFA Marketing Manager

With budget cuts senior managers are looking to re-imagine service delivery and it is important for them to use the data generated from benchmarking exercises to help make those innovative decisions.

CIPFA VfM Indicators show that there has been a significant changes in working patterns with more people working at home. This can bring benefits to an organisation and allow senior managers to look at new ways to structure the team and opens up new possibilities. This can also improve the quality of life for the employee and may increase their own performance.

Other VfM comparative data shows that people are taking less time off through sickness, and that there has been a drop of 1.3 days from 2011/12. Can the two be connected?  It is no secret that for working parents’ homeworking can allow them to be flexible and improve their quality of life, it’s a benefit that can also help with staff retention.

As more councils embrace digital delivery, and transparency the organisations are relying more heavily on the communications team to disseminate information that is most important to citizens. With people paying online, making claims and accessing councils’ services online this has stretched many communications departments. The operational costs have risen from 6.6% in 2009/10 to 9% in 2013/14. And there is further evidence that this area is being resourced more heavily, as a percentage of total organisational staff this has had a sharp increase from 7.6% in 2009/10 to 13.3% in 2013/14. If that trend continues and councils continue to add services online then how big could this department grow?

With the advent of social media and its important role in distributing information, councils have to have enough staff on-hand to be able to react to social problems, people expect it.

Whitehall-wide digital group

On 10 November 2015, Matthew Hancock MP announced the creation of the Ministerial Group on Government Digital Technology, this group will push the cause of digital transformation in the public sector. It is clear that getting value for money is a key part of his longer term strategy.  From an ICT perspective the cost to deliver an effective service needs to be married with making sure you are procuring effectively as well. Central Government was paying £5.5m in 2014 to keep their computer running Windows XP, that clearly isn’t a sustainable solution.

So as the move to digital marches on, there must be a grasp on how much it costs to deliver these new digital services as well making sure you are performing as well if not better than other organisations who are all doing the same thing. CIPFA’s Value for Money Indicators will help provide that insight to help you keep those costs and performance in-check with those you might compare yourself to.