Future Guildford - proposals to transform and improve whole Council

Last night (19 February), the Executive considered the next step for Future Guildford, a Council-wide approach to potentially reorganising our whole organisation. They recommended it for approval at the next Council meeting on 26 February.

Leader of the Council, Cllr Paul Spooner, says: "Our corporate themes are innovation, place-making and community and we need our Council to be flexible and able to support these, whilst meeting the changing needs of everyone who uses our services. We need to look at the Council as a whole, to identify wide-ranging opportunities and focus on best value for our residents to ensure the organisation is fit for the future.

"Although Future Guildford is primarily about transforming the internal organisation of the Council, myself and other councillors have given feedback and been involved in the initial review so far. As well as improving our services and systems, we also have to find new ways to generate income and build on the £11 million of savings we've made in the last five years."

Future Guildford aims to:

  • improve our services and customer care

  • future proof our organisation

  • modernise our services and systems

  • make us more efficient

  • deliver savings and address our financial challenges.

James Whiteman, Managing Director and Head of Paid Service, explains: "We provide a wide range of vital services that our communities rely on and Future Guildford is the most far-reaching proposal to transform the way our Council works. Like other complex public and private organisations, we must keep moving forward and need to change because of a number of influencing factors. Our customers' expectations have changed, our IT systems and processes need improving and updating, and we have challenging financial pressures over the next four year period.

"Past reviews have led to significant savings and efficiencies, but mainly concentrated on one specific area. This comprehensive programme looks at positive, integrated opportunities and more innovative delivery across all our services. It is informed through the use of external management consultants, working together with our staff, and will potentially involve changes to systems, structures, services, the size of our organisation and our culture.

"Although the way we deliver our services may change, we aim to keep providing them to a very high standard and in the most cost-effective way possible. We want to work together with staff, councillors and our residents to shape our future for a better Council."

Cllr Spooner adds: "Redesigning how the Council provides services, investing in new integrated technology, increasing customer self-service and exploring commercial opportunities will take time and money to implement properly. This is vital if we are to achieve the necessary ongoing savings and efficiencies identified as part of Future Guildford, estimated to be about £10 million in the first four years."

The Executive and Full Council both need to give their approval before the Future Guildford transformation programme can move to the final implementation stage. The Council is due to consider the Executive's recommendations at its meeting on 26 February.

For more information and to view the Executive agenda and report for 19 February please visit www.guildford.gov.uk/council

Published on Wednesday 20 February.