Manchester to roll out comprehensive mobile working

Manchester City Council is pushing ahead with mobile working for staff after pilots identified potential annual savings of almost £1m across just two departments.

The council said that the pilots in the neighbourhood services and social work departments achieved “great success” by allowing staff  to operate using tablets.

Results from the pilots were revealed in a report which also said that a digital workplace strategy, enabling all council users to move between locations and devices more easily, will roll out from October until March.

The report said: “Teams have been enabled to achieve efficiencies in part, due to the use of tablets that reduce duplication and make better use of time spent on operational delivery.”

Following the trials, the neighbourhoods department estimated that 10 full time equivalent positions – the equivalent of £320,000 per year – could be saved by mobile working.

The calculation was based on time saving calculations as well as £6,000 a year on printing and £28,000 on fuel and mileage savings each year.

The council also said that 130 social workers also tested mobile solutions supporting more efficient use of time.

Because more cases can be seen per day, it estimated that £600,000 a year could be saved as a result of working digitally in the department.

The council said another pilot in the democratic services department tested mobile devices when collecting voting registration data on the doorstep, and will now be rolled out across the whole department during the autumn. The highways department will also run a pilot beginning in the next few weeks.

The digital workplace strategy will allow staff to work in any location and from any piece of hardware through Citrix Access Gateway.

The council said: “The security and compliance of doing this has been greatly improved through the introduction of two factor authentication.”

Under the strategy, all staff will get new devices, a new email solution, plus collaborative tools to help share information with the NHS and police. It will also allow quicker login times, according to the report.

“Today staff and members are office and desk bound using software that is too slow, old and often seems to break and ICT is managing too many different devices from PC’s, Wyse terminals, Blackberry’s, iPads, multiple laptops etc,” the report concluded.

The council said that its ICT department currently has 36 transformation projects in progress, a threefold increase on last year.

“This clearly shows ICT’s role at the heart of the organisation supporting transformational change,” it said.

Elsewhere, the ICT department said it had achieved a 35 per cent reduction in calls to the ICT helpdesk between 2012/13 and 2013/14.

It also reduced the average wait time on the service desk from 3 minutes 24 seconds to 1 minute 35 seconds, it said.

The figures also showed an 80 per cent reduction in the time taken to resolve major incidents from 87 hours and eight minutes to 16 hours and 39 minutes.

A recent survey of officers revealed that 77 per cent said it was easy to get through to the ICT department, with 82 per cent saying their problem was satisfactorily resolved, according to the report.

Looking to the future, the report said that cloud technology would become more prevalent.

It said: “These present some challenges such as internet capacity and data integrity but none of them are insurmountable and advantages around value for money, cheaper operating costs, faster implementation and improved data sharing and collaboration tools can be exploited.”

Colin Marrs

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