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WORK-BASED ASSIGNMENT M3.

01 SOLVING PROBLEMS AND MAKING DECISIONS

Centre Number: Centre Name: Candidate Registration No: Candidate Name: MICHELLE L. BROOKING

Index Page 2 Pages 2 & 3 Pages 3 - 5 Page 5 Page 6 Page 7 Background Description of the problem Analysis of the problem Resolution of the Problem Implementation and communication of the solution Summary of Appendices

Background My organisation is Cornwall Council, which is the local authority for the entire county of Cornwall. This council has recently been formed by amalgamating the six district/borough councils and the county council. The county has been divided into three administrative areas, each of which comprises two of the former district/borough council areas. I am currently the manager of the licensing services unit for the former Caradon District Council area, which is part of the administrative area East. Licensing Services forms part of the new Public Health and Protection Department. My service is responsible for the protection of the health, well-being and safety of the public via the implementation and enforcement of licensing legislation. The majority of the work is a statutory function; however, there are areas that have been adopted to provide an effective regulatory service to protect the public. My role is to ensure effective delivery of the service and ensure that existing legislation is complied with and new legislation adopted and/or implemented effectively. Licensing in my area used to be part of the Environmental Services Department. As a result of the creation of the unitary authority, Licensing Services and Environmental Services are now separate units within a new department, Public Health and Protection, together with Trading Standards. Description of the problem The amalgamation of the councils has raised several issues, one of which is that the councils use different software packages to record data in respect of these three service units. In the different district/borough councils, Licensing was situated in different services; environmental or legal services for example. Software used was often dictated by the service, as it was either used by the whole service or could have been a dedicated licensing only software package, such as LalPac. The licensing service is responsible for regulating both people and premises across a wide variety of functions ranging from premises licensed for sale of alcohol and entertainment, to taxi drivers and vehicles, from skin piercing activities such as tattooing and acupuncture to street trading. Some of the legislation is extremely prescriptive, such as the Licensing Act 2003, requiring very strict procedures and deadlines to be adhered to. It is also very diverse. The environmental service also records details relating to premises on a variety of subject areas, such as food hygiene, health and safety, etc. With regards to licensing, applications made can contain a large amount of information, including personal or confidential information, which requires to be recorded onto a computer database for departmental ease of access to information, record-keeping purposes and to provide statutory reports to statutory bodies. Some legislation requires public registers to be maintained which detail prescribed information. 2

The different services also record data slightly differently, according to the capabilities of their software packages. Analysis of the problem Amalgamating the records of the seven former councils for the three service units is vital to ensure continuity of service and to enable a more effective to be provided to the public. Therefore in order to do so a single software package is required to be utilised in the new department. The failure to do so will make administration of the three new administrative areas virtually impossible, as each area will share responsibility for the overall workload. In addition each service unit needs to operate in the same way throughout the authority. In particular for the licensing service to operate as a single service it must be able to issue licenses that are numbered consecutively and according to legal requirements where applicable. Data needs to be recorded in the same way and licences produced in the same format. The officers in the service also need to be able to access the data relating to any area of the county if they are contacted for advice or information. Some licences issued, for example private hire driver or vehicle licences or street collections, can be effective for the whole of the county and enforcement officers in particular would require access to such information. Without access to such data effective enforcement would be impossible, and make for a less efficient service. The software packages currently used within the whole department were assessed. They varied from standard Microsoft software packages available such as Excel and Access, software packages commonly used by regulatory authorities, such as Idox Uniform and Civica to more area specific software such as LalPac, which is a dedicated licensing software package. It was felt that due to the number of users, approximately 300, and the complexity of the data to be recorded that the purchase of a suitable single software package that could be utilised by the entire department should be considered, and not 3 separate package for each service unit. At the same time standard packages were considered and put through testing to consider their flexibility, accessibility and capacity. Overall aspects to be considered included ability to capture all required data, ease of data capture (user friendly), cost of package, training costs and requirements, reporting abilities, ability to provide public registers directly from the software, ability to produce licences from software package, It support requirements, update facilities from software provider & costs, software support and costs, installation costs and project duration (how long the transfer from multiple systems to a single system would take). Therefore in respect of the non-standard Microsoft packages, a tender document was compiled, covering different aspects such as general programme capability, IT requirements, and data capture & reporting in respect of the three services.

With regard to the 3 individual service areas, myself and managers of the six district licensing services created a document detailing our requirements and the types of data required to be captured, this is attached at Appendix A. Other officers from Trading Standards and Environmental services carried out the same exercise. The content of these documents was then cross-matched. Common elements were unified, leaving only elements specific to each individual service separate. A procurement timetable was drawn out to ensure the process was carried out efficiently and effectively and within a reasonable timescale. This is attached at Appendix B. The tender was put out to appropriate bidders, including those providing software already used within the department. The tender document was used to create a scoring matrix. This matrix was then used to score the information provided within the tender bids. This is attached at Appendix C. Three bids were received in respect of providing a package for Public Health and Protection. Due to the confidentiality the contract bidders names have been removed and changed to Supplier 1, Supplier 2 and Supplier 3. The responses from bidders 1, 2 and 3 relating to licensing are attached at Appendix D. The part of the scoring matrix relating to licensing is attached at Appendix E. The tender responses were analysed to see how well they met the required criteria, by assessors considering each of individual services units and IT personnel gave consideration to the overall system requirements. Members of the evaluation panels were given a briefing document, which outlined how they were to score each section. This is attached at Appendix F. This information provided clear guidance regarding the process and direction regarding confidentiality. These individual scores from each of the assessors were collated into a single document in respect of the appropriate panel. Any areas of significant concern or where more information was required were highlighted and the bidders were asked to make formal presentations on their packages. They were required to address particular issues of concern, as well as being given the opportunity to showcase their software. As a result of the formal presentations the individual scoring matrices were updated. These area specific scores were then recorded into a single overall scoring matrix, to gain an overall view of each software packages as a whole. Each bid was given final consideration, to assess the overall best package. This meant that the chosen package could have received excellent scores in respect of general compliance, and one of the services areas, but scored less well in the other two services areas. However by scoring more favourably overall than the other tender bidders it would be the preferred option.

Clearly the calculations on this were complex and all matters had to be considered carefully. Resolution of problem It was apparent that standard data capture software such as Excel and Access were not robust enough to cope with the number of users, diversity, range and amount of data to be captured and the requirement to be able to drill down through the data for detailed reporting, Therefore the best option was a dedicated software package. However through the tender processes the data received was exceptionally complex and had to be considered to find out which package would prove to be the most effective overall. Clearly cost was a considerable part of this when taking into consideration the number of users and the total number of user licences that would be required (approximately 300) which could prove extremely costly. In the end bidder Y was chosen. By purchasing this particular package it was versatile enough to be used throughout the entire service, and would therefore only require information which would be relevant to the whole service, such as address mapping, to be entered once. It also meant that property information held by one service unit within the department could be viewed by officers within other service units, to assist partnership working. The system chosen was already being used by 2 of the District Councils and the County Council and had proven to be an effective package; one that was reasonable to administer from both IT and user aspects and due to it currently being utilised by 3 authorities meant that installation throughout the whole of the new authority would prove easier especially with regard to combining data. It would mean that data from those 3 authorities would already be in an appropriate format and would require less work and less migration time, when it came to data capture from the other operating systems, which was a bonus. It also meant that there are a number of users who are already well versed in operating the system and that there were a number of IT administrators who were already familiar with the capabilities of the system and would be able to set up the infrastructure for the unified system, for example coding. This would help with a smooth transition from multiple systems onto the single system. It also meant that current users would be able to assist with the development of the package across the entire service and be able to discuss the migration of data from other packages to the new system with colleagues and assist in training colleagues before the package come on line for the whole service. This package was not only cost effective by way of product cost, training and implementation, but also resource efficient as the system was already installed in 3 work places and existing staff knowledge would aid a smooth transition.

Implementation and communication of the solution Members of the evaluation panels were consulted during the decision making process. The project team responsible for the procurement of ICT package made the final decision. Once negotiations had been completed with the chosen provider the evaluation team were e-mailed to advise them of the decision. A meeting was held to discuss the implementation period and the set up of a project team, which would be responsible for the bringing the system online. All users were then advised of the successful tender bidder and of the project team. They were further advised that members of the project team would be visiting each of the area offices to assess the standard of data currently held by each service, namely how many duplicate files, how many live files, and how much historical data required to be transferred onto the new system. Where the winning package is already being operated the project team would also assess to what extent the system was being utilised. Users were advised that members of the service units would join the project team, to ensure that the correct data was carried over, and to unify field codes and other similar data. They have also been asked to consider the data held on their systems and what will required to be transferred over. Because the licensing teams had already been involved in drawing up their requirements the aspects the system need to record have already been analysed. Comparisons will have to be made of coding and data currently used and unified systems agreed, so that work can commence on the new system. A project plan with be drawn up in conjunction with the supplier, which will provide timelines for each stage of the project. This will be communicated to all service users. In the interim to help unify the systems the licensing team have unified numbers for licences and permits issued and standardised processing procedures. A Project management team will oversee the implementation of the project and ensure that the plan is being adhered to. Staff will be involved throughout the process, and regular feedback sessions will take place. Each step of the transfer of data will be checked, by interim testing of the processes on a test system prior to the finalised system going live. Experienced users will carry out the testing, a record will be made of the tests carried out, to ensure continuity and evidence the test phases.

Appendices Appendix A Appendix B Appendix C Appendix D Appendix E Appendix F Licensing statement of requirements Procurement timetable Functional requirements Environmental Services & Trading Services Responses from bidders 1, 2 and 3 relating to licensing Evaluation matrix Guidance for Evaluation Panel members