Last week I had the pleasure of spending time at the IRRV national conference with theRevenues & Benefits Team from Tewkesbury Borough Council – and what an event it turned out to be!

12 months ago ICE began working on a transformation programme with the service and the conference was the culmination and celebration of all that we have achieved together. It’s been a long journey, but with outstanding results and the commitment and enthusiasm of the team throughout the process has been a pleasure to witness.

The team wanted to improve efficiency and processes, drive culture change and most importantly determine how to deliver better services to their customers. At the outset they had backlogs of work and long processing times. The service was very reactive with little or no capacity to look into the future and be proactive in their approach.

Using the ICE 7Es model, we worked with the team to transfer skills and knowledge which empowered them to make significant and sustainable changes in their system. The outcome: recognition at the IRRV Performance Awards 2015 as a top performing service and a transformation to be truly proud of.

One of the key features of ICE’s 7Es model is that we work with you and don’t do to you. Working together, the teams have achieved so much, including:

  • The Benefits team being ranked 15 out of 201 district councils and top performer in Gloucestershire
  • Elimination of the backlog of work
  • New claims: processing time reduced from 37 days to 9 days
  • Change of circumstances: processing time reduced from 25 days to 8 days
  • Significant increase in Benefits subsidy
  • 80% reduction in failure demand into the Benefits service
  • 75% increase in Revenues customers having their accounts administered at the point of contact
  • 60% reduction in incorrect ad-hoc bills
  • Creation of a motivated and empowered work force, open to change and with capacity to build wider partnerships.

The core team we worked with included all levels of staff from front line through to the Head of Service, with leadership and sponsorship from the Deputy Chief Executive. Having achieved so much in such a short space of time we decided that it would be a great idea to enter the IRRV Performance Awards. The service had never considered this in the past and it was testimony to the new way in which they now looked at their world. So, together, we began to think about the applications and put pen to paper.

To our delight both the Revenues Team and Benefits Team were shortlisted into the last five nationally for their respective team of the year awards. The awards panel sent judges along to the Council to talk to the team about the work that they had done, and are continuing to do. This was a great success, with both teams subsequently being invited along to the IRRV Performance Awards Gala dinner in Telford on 7th October.

The team sent a mini bus of staff up to the conference and donned their gladrags for a much deserved evening of celebration. It was a joy to see their pride and sense of achievement on the night and the realisation that they were indeed recognised for their hard work and positive attitude towards continuous service improvement.

I watched with all of the pride of a mother around her brood as they awaited the results and, despite not getting the award overall, they truly believed in themselves and their own achievements as their name came up on the big screen as national finalists.

The buzz that they continued with throughout the night and again the next morning was evidence of just how far they have come – they had ‘got it’! We talked and planned what next, how they continue their journey of continuous improvement, the bigger picture going forward and about always putting their customers first and trying new ways to help people.

Giving those that do the work the power, culture and enthusiasm to keep making better happen is truly a rewarding job and makes me realise it’s why I go to work every day. You don’t need a trophy or an award to be a winner – you just need the right way of thinking and the behaviour to keep on going, to achieve the outcomes you seek and to keep on growing.

Here’s to next year and the journey that keeps on going!

To find out more about ICE’s 7Es model and how we can help you on your transformation journey, contact: