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Public sector innovation Do more – and the unexpected – with less

If you’ve been following this series of blog posts or have downloaded our guide, you’ll know that one of the most powerful ways to achieve ‘more for less’ is by making use of online collaboration.

You’ll also have been struck by the many innovative ways in which public sector organisations have used online collaboration software. These are just some of the examples we’ve covered:

  • London councils collaborating to drive down the costs of vehicle procurement
  • The Land Registry reaching out to 200,000 stakeholders to collaborate on the introduction of a new e-conveyancing system
  • A ‘pledge forum’ for business leaders and others to discuss health and safety issues, launched by the HSE
  • A collaborative database to log unlawful advertising and fly tipping, created by the Department for Communities and Local Government.

What is most remarkable, though, is the way that online collaboration can soon become ingrained in the culture of your public sector organisation. As soon as users realise how easy it is to bring people together online, they start thinking of new ways of using online collaboration to add value to their work. For example, you might start using online collaboration to manage a specific project, but then go on to use the same software to set up a secure intranet.

Or you might begin by creating a portal for stakeholder management, only to go on and use online collaboration to broker overseas partnerships.

The best way to understand how online collaboration creates a culture of innovation is to see it in action.

Innovation in delivering shared services

In our post on delivering shared services you heard how Herefordshire Council, Herefordshire PCT and Wye Valley NHS Trust used online collaboration as they set up a joint partnership.

The process saw them share a Chief Executive and to share budgets across a range of areas, from mental health and learning disabilities to continuing care.

Initially their use of online collaboration allowed them to manage the change process, keep a whole range of activities on track and maintain clear channels of communication with all staff. 

The cloud collaboration software they used was ideal for their purposes. It added no support burden on existing ICT departments, and it allowed people from all three organisations to collaborate from any location at any time.

While online collaboration made the transition to shared service delivery much smoother, it was just the beginning. As staff got used to collaborating online, they quickly began to use it in innovative ways, including:

  • Creating an online community for learning mentors to share issues, resources and updates
  • A planned community for approximately 130 higher-level teaching assistants
  • An upcoming community for deputy head teachers
  • A virtual team supporting Community Led Planning, involving the voluntary sector, parish councils and 134 community groups 
  • Workspaces for the ‘Pedal Power’ consortium of 12 Europewide partners, bidding for European Energy Efficiency Directorate funding.

They still use the software, and it is embedded into their working practices and is the source of many innovative ideas.

This story isn’t an uncommon one. If your immediate need is to collaborate with colleagues, you’ll quickly devise innovative ways of collaborating with external stakeholders — and vice versa.

When you start doing that, you’ll cut costs, drive efficiency and foster a culture of innovation that allows you to deliver more for less.

And with budgets being cut right back — seemingly for the long term — it’s clearly a no-brainer to use collaborative tools that help you squeeze every drop of value from every penny.

Get started with online collaboration today. Download our guide from the box below, and if we can be of any help at all please do get in touch.

Download our free guide below – Doing more with less: 8 key issues faced by public sector

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