How to be big and beautiful

Simon Caulkin  wrote a column in The Observer a couple of weeks ago which has a spooky resemblance to some of what we are trying to do – and which is apparently  producing dramatic results in, of all places, Swale Borough Council.  Nobody who has not spent serious amounts of time in north Kent will ever have been to Swale, so you can have little idea just how unlikely that is (the brutally honest bored in Swale link on the council’s home page gives a clue).   Local prejudice aside, the article is a good one:

Here’s a different approach:

  • Understand what customers want and only do work that improves their experience of the service
  • Ensure work goes out 100 per cent perfect, taking whatever time is needed and drawing on all necessary resources
  • Manage the customer through to the end of the process, keeping them informed of progress and the service levels they can expect

It’s well worth reading.  Full text of the article is here.

But the reason for mentioning it is that it was thrust into my hands by Charlie MacKinnon, who has sent it out to a bunch of his people with an instruction to think seriously about the implications for Pension Service ops.  His note includes some off-the-top-of-his-head suggestions for performance measures, which include:

Just as a starter, the kind of measures I think we need to develop if we are to tell staff and managers "how well they are achieving things that matter to customers, not official specifications", might include:

  • All relevant data captured in transaction
  • Only relevant validation of documents required
  • Documents returned to customers on time
  • Customer understands what we are doing
  • Customer understands decision and award

Some interesting implications from all of that for channels and integrated delivery – as well as for business strategy more generally.