14 April 2000
The blueprint advises councils to use business process re-engineering (BPR) to improve service levels. All aspects of service provision should be examined to see how new technology such as the Internet or interactive television could improve performance.
BPR was popular in the private sector in the early 1990s. But it was criticised for being time-consuming and costly, and for its association with downsizing.
Doug Forbes, Barony's managing director, said that councils were now being encouraged to use BPR following reports from the Benefits Fraud Inspectorate which criticised the lack of procedures manuals. 'How are councils going to change if they don't start somewhere?' he asked.
Forbes suggested that authorities such as Dundee, Milton Keynes and the London Borough of Harrow have adopted this approach.
Peter Deane, Microsoft's industry manager for government, said that new technology was revolutionising traditional business models.
'The Internet makes it possible for organisations to reach groups in ways which were never before possible. For the citizen this is great news, but it presents a huge challenge to local government,' he added.