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Welcome to Toolkit - Scotland

Notes from Scottish TLC Meeting 26th October 2011

A very warm welcome awaited us in Rutherglen for The Scottish TLC on Wednesday 26th October. The group outlined what they wanted from the day and discussed what they would like for Christmas!

Peter Wrigley from esd-toolkit gave a very good demonstration of how the Cost Calculator can be used to help make services more efficient. Focussing on Families in Need, he gave an example of combining the services offered by a job centre with those offered by the council, resulting in not only considerable savings to the public purse but a seamless service for the customer whereby they were only asked to meet eligibility criteria once to receive all the benefits and services that would support them. He also showed where to find a tool that can assess the viability of a project, The Business Case Tool.

To view Peter's presentation and example spreadsheet please use the links provided.

Martin Brown from Improvement Service talked about overcoming the barriers to channel shift and people were interested to hear about how the Improvement service are supporting the change in how services are delivered. Very supportive of the standards hosted in esd-toolkit to enable this change to take place, in a nutshell, Martin explained that there is already some very good examples of councils making real improvements but in the present climate, Scottish local government face four major strategic challenges:

  • Real term cuts of at least 12% up to 2013/14
  • Total finance gap of £1.7bn to 2013/14, and £2.8bn by 2016/17
  • Around 40% of total public spend driven by failure demand
  • Efficiency in past has created savings to recycle into services, today's challenge: get efficiencies out of services

Having defined the context and the problem, Martin explained how the Improvement service is helping councils to address the problems:

  • Analysed Scottish councils' websites which included Socitm's Better Connected findings in order to support councils to do more online understanding that there's more to it than converting paper–based applications into eForms. This has led to the development of a robust business case showing savings of £66M over 3 years
  • providing the means for councils to match, cleanse and return to councils golden customer records

To view the full presentation please use this link.

Carolyne Mitchell from South Lanarkshire who is also the Regional Liaison Manager for esd-toolkit, gave a very unusual presentation using a presentation package called Prezi. She explained how her Council have been using Experian Mosaic and esd-toolkit to find out more about who is in the area and what services they most need so that funding can be channelled where it is needed most. You can view her presentation from this link.

The tools and functionality that South Lanarkshire used within esd-toolkit were then demonstrated by Nicki Gill where she showed how to find out what type of people live in your area so that you can assess their needs and understand their behavioural characteristics and, neatly dovetailing with Martin's thoughts on channel shift, what are their channels of preference and who might switch to a cheaper channel. We also looked at the Experian Multi Media guide available through esd-toolkit and found out where to find out what message might grab a particular target groups' attention and you might advertise. Nicki rounded it all off by showing how to find out who your demographic near neighbours are, where to find projects that others have done that might help you and how to set up and profile surveys so that you get a representative sample of your population to find out what your customers think. Although it was a live demonstration of the tools in esd-toolkit, you can view the functionality covered in this presentation.

We then looked at the development that will see English Councils collecting metrics in a completely different way. To meet the transparency agenda, there is a requirement for English Councils to upload their spend data over £500 in a meaningful way so that it is searchable and can be compared with others. (A PDF will not allow sections of data to be extracted). Councils who use the now nationally accepted standards to publish their data will be one step ahead as this is being progressed to collecting data about many other aspects of the service that a council provides. Data about how a council is performing can now be collected, compared and reported without the burden of cumbersome reporting systems. The new system, commissioned by the Government via the LG Group, is called LG Inform and it already collects data across the public sector demonstrating that this is how performance will be measured in the future. esd-toolkit is the engine that sits behind LG Inform. Using this system, you will not only be able to find out how much a council spends on gritting roads in comparison to another council but also the length of roads that need to be gritted and eventually, a comparison of weather conditions during that period thus giving a far more meaningful comparison. LG Inform and KHub are the top level front end that give access to sector wide information for members and officers.

esd-toolkit provides the premium services, tools, data, knowhow and engagement services for councils to drill down from top level data in Inform to the underlying data within councils that drive these metrics. Attendees thought this could also be useful in Scotland and promised to take this information to their performance managers. Sheila agreed to progress it with Martin Brown. A presentation is available from this link.

This lead very neatly into a short presentation and good discussion about the controlled list as they are used in Scotland. The way web sites are structured and SOCITM criteria for success are key to understanding how the lists can contribute to improved services to the public. Many CRM and CMS are difficult to configure and it would help if suppliers could be kept up to date with the standards that are so key to exchanging information electronically. Everyone promised to look at how they used the lists feeding back any suggested improvements into this forum. There will be a meeting of the Information Management Work Group very soon and it is hoped that there will be good Scottish representation. Sheila promised to keep David Hall, Rob Tarling and Martin informed of dates and progress.

All in all it was a good meeting cordially hosted by South Lanarkshire and esd-toolkit would like to thank everyone who gave up their time to attend and contribute.

Regional esd-toolkit liaison and support

Your regional liaison manager (RLM) in Scotland is: Carolyne Mitchell (South Lanarkshire Council) -

Activity Based Costing

Workshop 3,

Workshop 2, - Supporting documentation:


Read the news article which outlines the objectives of the project

Workshop 1, -  Supporting documentation:

> View the Cost Architecture project site

Community of practice

Following the TLC meeting on 24th June we agreed to establish a governance team to sustain the A-Z project. A community of practice site has been established to kick off initial discussions. There was a meeting of the group on the 21st September, minutes form this meeting are now available. If you would like further information about this group you should get in touch with Graeme McWilliams.

Feedback from the meeting suggests that delegates were interested in taster workshops. Your feedback will be taken into consideration and future proposals will posted on this page.


A-Z Outputs

Benefits of Toolkit

Customer profiling

  • It’s critical to understand your customers and their needs. Information about your customers down to ward level is available to you through Toolkit. Simply click on “X Council data” tab, it the first choice  on the horizontal navigation bar. Then, from the drop-down menu select customer profiling

Cost to serve

  • Calculating savings can present challenges. Learn more about Cost Architecture and how to evidence saving on our Costs and Efficiencies page


Past TLC events

For details of past events and links to presentations:

TLC 4 Falkirk 31st October 2007

TLC 3 Perth 21st June 2007

TLC 2 Perth 13th March 2007

TLC 1 Stirling 27th Nov 2006