BCP Council announces services overhaul
BCP (Bournemouth Christchurch Poole) Council has announced a three-year plan to modernise council services in a bid to improve access and accountability.
As part of the council’s 2021/22 budget setting and medium term financial plan, a one-off investment of up to £38 million will be made by 2023, in order to realise savings of more than £40 million a year.
BCP Council is a unitary authority created from the merger of three constituent local authorities in 2019. The ongoing priority is to ensure the continuation of efficient and quality services to residents and businesses, while harmonising staff, systems and processes of the previous local councils.
Residents will be encouraged to access council services online and customer service hubs will be brought into the heart of communities across the BCP area. The council aims to become a slimmer, more flexible and agile organisation.
Over the next three years, BCP Council is investing in transforming services to “create a more modern and responsive council, where customers are better understood and so better served, making it easier for residents and businesses to deal with us online, on a device and at a time of their choosing with information and services online wherever possible, with 24/7 access.”
This is to be enabled by investing in more modern, efficient ways of working, with increased automation of services, allowing the council to focus its resources and people on the more complex issues and challenges, and the needs of their most vulnerable users - children at risk, adults with disabilities, older people with care needs, and the homeless or those facing homelessness.
The plans set out the priority of achieving financial savings in the “medium-term”, partly enabled by a reduction in the size and cost of the council’s office estate as it consolidates services out of a single Civic Centre in Bournemouth, supported by community hubs throughout the area.
Councillor Drew Mellor, Leader of BCP Council and Portfolio Holder for Finance and Transformation, said:
“Our aim is to make sure we focus on what matters most to our customers and adds most value to their lives. As we continue to harmonise our services and invest in transforming BCP Council, we will become more modern, flexible and responsive. This will enable us to reduce the size and cost of our workforce, which in turn will allow us to continue to invest in frontline services.
We will invest in our digital offering to be a truly modern and leading authority, now that we are one of the largest councils in the country. Our online services will be easy to use, accessible and quick. This will allow us to focus our resources and our people on the more complex issues and challenges we face, and the needs of our most vulnerable customers who are more likely to need face to face support.”
The challenges of managing the COVID-19 pandemic, the threats and opportunities of Brexit, along with significant constraints on BCP Council’s finances, mean that plans to modernise and transform have been accelerated.