This report provides Members with a review of the implementation of Civica CX; the new integrated Housing Management System. The report proposes changes to the approach, resources and timescales for completion of the programme which are designed to ensure the most effective implementation, which supports our ambition to offer our residents the best quality and value for money services.
The Interim Head of Housing explained the report provided Members with a review of the implementation of Civica CX; the new integrated Housing Management System. The report proposed changes to the approach, resources, and timescales for completion of the programme which were designed to ensure the most effective implementation, that supports the council’s ambition to offer its residents the best quality and value for money services. He advised the councils business processes required ‘re-engineering’ in order to create stronger resilience within its operational service. He also reminded members that the staff who were currently involved with the implementation of the new system were also the same staff who were providing the day-to-day services to the council’s residents.
Members were keen to fully understand the breakdown of the additional monies being requested and were looking for reassurance that further project cost increases were being fully mitigated, where possible as the project was funded from the Housing Revenue Account (HRA). Clarification was also sought regarding the recruitment of 12 trainee posts and how long these posts would be retained.
It was confirmed by the Interim Head of Housing that the recommendations in the report had been put forward by the consultants who had reviewed the project timeline, and in order to have the new system implemented against its new timeline, those are the staffing numbers needed to be put in place on the project to ensure delivery. He also stated that one of the biggest risks the project faced currently was the number of staff absences alongside the difficulty in recruiting permanent staff. He explained that it was thought that by implementing a trainee programme that would run for 16 weeks, this would open the roles up to a wider range of candidates. The plan would be to have these individuals fully trained by the Subject Matter Experts (SME) in system and process before they were moved and integrated into the main service team.
An explanation was requested in terms of the original system implementation timeframe verse what members were now having reported to them. The Interim Head of Housing explained that the implementation of systems such as this can be lengthy and are normally broken down into stages, he provided examples of other authorities such as Enfield Council who were now at an implementation period of 6 years.
The Leader of the Council asked the Interim Head of Housing if he thought that the handling and implementation thus far required to be reviewed by the Audit & Governance Committee. It was explained that the Interim Head of Housing had completed an audit and because of this it was felt that it would be a duplication of work. He also stated that when the initial plans for the project were put together with the initial projected costs, they were not quite in line with the councils’ ambitions as they were now. He confirmed that he believed the changes made would enable the council to better serve its residents.
It was asked when it was envisaged that the council, staff and residents would see the benefits of the system. The Interim Head of Housing explained that within the systems implementation there were 3 products (stages), each would land a different times. He explained that for the overall benefits to be seen, it would be 6 months either side of the May 2024 date. To bring that date forward in anyway would be that compromise would need to be made to the Training element and it was his opinion that this would be a mistake.
Additionally, it was asked if the new system would be more accessible for those with additional needs. It was explained that whilst there was a technical element to the question. The work for the system to be as accessible as it can be for as many residents as possible was in the detail of the councils processes and ensuring that the data behind these processes were input into the system early on. It was also confirmed that residents would be involved in the journey of the upgrade to the new system, as a survey would be sent out to obtain feedback.
The recommendations were proposed by Cllr Gregory and seconded by Cllr English.
1. that the revised schedule for the housing management system implementation programme be approved, and
2. that an increase in the programme budget from £1,208K to £1,820K subject to Policy and Finance/Full Council confirmation of finance available be approved.