From the Gutter to the Stars

From: Vanguard Scotland
Published: Mon Sep 13 2010

Top consultancy firm Vanguard Scotland today praised Edinburgh City Council staff for their hard work and sincere commitment to changing their public services for the better after they won their 2nd award for improvements to services they had worked on with Vanguard Scotland.

Vanguard Scotland’s Managing Director Stuart Corrigan said, "We work with a lot of people to improve their work processes and bring some common sense back into systems that have become over-bureaucratised. We’re used to seeing our clients gain cost savings, free up resources and get faster, better services for their customers, but Edinburgh City Council went for it with a will, they truly wanted to become better and they did, they 100% deserve this award."

The Council scooped the Association for Public Service Excellence (APSE) 2010 award for Best Efficiency Initiative against stiff competition. No less than 9 finalists were selected this year but the capital’s 92% improvement of their response rate to requests for their gully cleaning service beat them all.

Trapped debris in gullies can cause sewers to block and overflow and it previously it took the local authority an average of 154 days to respond to reports of problem gullies. However after studying the process for gully cleaning, a team of frontline city council workers, supported by Vanguard, reduced this reactive cleaning time to an average of 12 days.

It was a repeat of their sweep to victory in last year’s Guardian newspaper Public Service Awards after their Vanguard assisted revamp of their potholes repair service. The reduction in the time taken to fix a pot hole in that service went from an average of 144 to 23 days and winter accident claims involving potholes were halved despite the destruction the unusually harsh winter wreaked on our road surfaces.

Both these remarkable results were achieved thanks to Vanguard Scotland’s Systems Thinking method, invented by the management guru Professor John Seddon, which helps service organisations to improve service whilst reducing costs and is being hailed by a number of councils as a possible aid for their budget stricken frontline services.

Alison Angus, Business Improvement Consultant at Edinburgh City Council, said: " Vanguard taught us that we had to first study how the whole systems worked before deciding how best to make a change. Additionally they showed us that systems like gullies and road repairs should be thought of as project environments. This led to a completely different way of managing the cleaning schedule and provided amazing efficiencies."

Announcing the awards Cllr Shaun Gallagher, APSE’s national chair said "With the pressures facing the public sector it is timely for us to recognise the value of local public services upon which our citizens depend. The finalist councils are leading the way in demonstrating that despite the economic environment we are in they have shown a true commitment to excellence in frontline services"
Company: Vanguard Scotland
Contact Name: vanguard
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