This report gives an overview of the Council’s Resident Experience and Access Programme (REAP) – a flagship initiative for driving transformation, improved access, reliability and quality across all front-line services.
NOTE: This item was taken after Item 5.
Martin Calleja (AD Efficiency and Zero-Based Budgeting) presented the report on the Council’s Resident Experience and Access Programme (REAP) – a flagship initiative for driving transformation, improved access, reliability and quality across all front-line services. He noted that the programme was moving from the design stage to the delivery stage. Phase one of the programme was focused on universal services like council tax, parking, and benefits. Phase two of the programme was focused on targeted support services like adult social care and children’s services.
Martin Calleja explained that the Council was currently delivering around 30 percent of services digitally and the aim was to deliver over 60 percent of services digitally. The programme would be delivered over five years with the majority of investment in the first three. Officers estimated savings of £9.28m.
The Chair welcomed the programme. He noted that while calling the Council’s noise and nuisance number he learned that the call centre wasn’t based in the borough. He asked where the Council got those services from and how many third-party providers the Council used. Martin Calleja said he understood that the service was in the process of being desegregated from RBKC and the current team worked remotely.
The Chair asked if the programme had been co-produced with residents. Martin Calleja said officers had reached out to residents through various channels and five residents with specific skills had been involved to give feedback. The team would also be working with residents through existing routes on a service by service basis. The Chair said it was important to testing the programme with residents to ensure the Council was getting it right.
Councillor Christabel Cooper asked how officers could ensure they got feedback from residents who were less tech savvy. Martin Calleja said they had reached out and would continue to try to get a stronger resident voice into the programme.
Councillor Guy Vincent said he agreed with the goals of the programme but asked officers what this investment would do to improve common service problems like housing repairs or tackling anti-social behaviour. Martin Calleja said the services mentioned were in phase two and hadn’t been modelled yet, though broad design principles were in place. Phase two design work was due to be completed this year and delivery was due to start in 2021. Veronica Barella added that the Council was already working on a long-term repairs model – the service had been brought back in house and software had been procured to help triage requests and provide a portal for residents to see information about their repairs and upcoming appointments. This work would join up with the work happening in the REAP in phase two.
Councillor Vincent expressed concern that phase two of the programme had not yet been fully thought through. He noted that the projected £3.4m of savings per year would mean a workforce reduction of around 50 people and asked what services that those people were providing would be delivered by software. Martin Calleja said the savings were based on detailed modelling work – the programme would realise savings by bringing together services, reducing the workload, and lowering transaction costs.
Councillor Vincent asked if there was a project plan with clear milestones that the committee could track to ensure it was delivered on time and on budget.
Martin Calleja said following Cabinet approval in October there would be monthly progress reports that could be shared with members. He added that there was a board governance structure in place and the senior leadership team reviewed progress on a monthly basis.
Councillor Dominic Stanton asked when the first visible change would appear for residents (on the website, an app, digitised parking etc.). Martin Calleja said the first major change would be parking and council tax. Members asked that the delivery schedule be circulated.
ACTION: Martin Calleja
Councillor Zarar Qayyum, noting the target of 60 percent of resident interactions to be digital by April 2023, asked if there were similar targets for other routes. Some residents weren’t able to use digital means – was there any way of identifying those people and providing support? Martin Calleja said there was a breakdown of target channel mix across all major services on page 86 of the agenda.
The Chair summarised the discussion and said he was keen to see this programme delivered and requested regular progress updates.