Paul Brocklehurst's IT-led change to Surrey Council's business processes and culture came as part of a wider initiative to ensure each service operated in the top quartile of the sector for performance and the bottom quartile for cost. The result? Savings of £279m in four years and significant improvements in performance and customer satisfaction.

When did you start your current role?
June 2009.

What is your reporting line?
Chief operating officer.

Do you meet with and discuss business strategy with the CEO every week?
We meet on a monthly basis, though there are also a number of distributed network boards responsible for setting business strategy.

Are you a member of the board of directors?
Yes.

What other executive boards do you sit on?
New models of delivery, continuous improvement, South East Business Services Ltd.

Does your organisation have a CDO?
Yes.

What different responsibilities does the CDO have?  
To engender radical change supported by digital technologies and introduce a more innovative, commercial, transformational culture across the organisation. We need to ensure we are solving the right problems in a modern transformational way.

What non-technology responsibilities do you have in the organisation?
Executive member on network boards for new models of delivery, continuous improvement and South East Business Services Ltd. Chair of the information governance group and active participant in partnership boards supporting Surrey and the South East region.

How many employees does your organisation have?
30,000.

How many users does your department supply services to? 
12,000.

How do you ensure that you have a good understanding of your business and how your customers use your business's products?
We have technology boards operating in each service responsible for driving IT Strategy, setting project priorities, budgets and managing progress. A board is typically made up of 10 to 12 service representatives and one or two people from IT. We have also just completed a 'better place to work' programme, in which we visited every one of more than 200 sites and interviewed thousands of users to assess exactly how IT services were being consumed. We intend to revisit this exercise on a permanent basis.

Surrey Council technology strategy and agenda

Is your organisation being disrupted by the internet, mobility or technology-oriented start-ups?
Yes.

Are you empowered by your organisation to disrupt from the inside?
Yes.

Describe a disruptive measure you’ve led or played a major part in
We have acquired an equity share in a company called Futuregov that we work alongside to deliver forward-looking change programmes that will help us transform well into the future, developing products such as Casserole, PatchWork and new models of social care delivery. We also manage a number of rapid improvement events (RIEs), where we develop in-house the significant areas of system functionality that our users wish to transform. Successful RIEs have been completed in social care, fire service, business support and highways.

What major transformation project has been recently completed or is under way at your organisation?
Transformational programmes have been delivered across all services with the introduction of new ways of working, new applications and new infrastructure. This involved a complete change to our organisational structures, roles and responsibilities, business processes, supporting technologies and culture. Many services have been completed transformed to make effective use of digital technologies to support new ways of working, especially in youth services, schools, libraries, highways, fire and social care.

What impact will the above transformation have on your organisation?
The transformational change was part of a wider initiative to ensure each service operated in the top quartile of our industry for performance and the bottom quartile for cost. The result was to deliver £279m in savings over the last four years while significantly improving performance and customer satisfaction.

How has your leadership style contributed to the outcomes of the transformation project?
An open, honest, coaching style with much attention to delivery and celebrating success has helped increase staff morale, confidence and forged good working relationships with our customers, partners and suppliers.

Leadership is never down to one person. It is my role to:
• set a vision for how technology can help us successfully transform
• create an environment where we can work together successfully (facilitative, supportive, open and transparent)
• ensure we have the correct governance, risk management and capabilities in place to deliver

What key technologies do you consider enable transformation?
Lots and lots but most important ones include:
• shared networks (WAN, LAN, telephony) across all our partners (boroughs and districts, fire, police, health)
• browser-based thin/client technologies to support flexible working (BYOD/home workers)
• cloud email/social technology to encourage effective staff/customer interaction
 line of business applications (LiquidLogic/Kier/AIS/Axiell/etc) with bespoke changes to support staff in functions where transformational change is more impactful
 disaggregated self-service ERP system to support staff interactions  SAP/My benefits/PAMS 
 security solutions to enable a more risk-based approach that supports flexible working (MobileIron, Egress, Symantec)

Are you increasing the number of cloud applications or infrastructure in use at your organisation?
Yes.

What is your information and data analytics vision for the organisation?
We are committed to supporting open data standards wherever possible and have spent much time building golden records (child, adult, location, etc), which we use to make more informed service decisions. We extensively use Visonware to consolidate and match data from many disparate systems.

How is mobile and social networking impacting operations and customer experience?
This is essential to our future. This is one method in which our residents and our staff prefer to communicate with us as it is easy to operate, popular and available 24/7. Many of our residents also use the phone, email and online forms; we use ZenDesk to support this and manage our different channels.

Describe your strategic vision towards shadow IT and BYOD. How do you influence and engage executives and employees around choice?
This is essential to our future. We are moving our email/collaborative working into the cloud away from an on-premise solution to open up access to all employees and partners. We see this as a huge culture change in which we wish to encourage more open, risk-based, commercial and innovative ways of working. The CEO, communications, customer, HR and IT are working together to deliver this cultural change programme.

What strategic technology deals have been struck and with whom?
BT for the Unicorn network (across public sector in Surrey and Berkshire), Microsoft, Goodge, SAP, NorthGate, LiquidLogic, Cap Gemini, Kier and Axiell.

Who are your main suppliers?
BT, IBM, Microsoft, Goodge, Lenovo, SAP, NorthGate, LiquidLogic, Cap Gemini, Kier, Axiell.

Surrey Council IT security and budget

Has your organisation detected a cyber intrusion in the last 12 months?
Yes.

Has cyber-security risen up your management agenda?
Yes.

Does your organisation understand the potential cyber-security threats it faces?
Yes.

Has this led to an increase in your security budget?
Yes.

What is the IT budget?
£21m per annum.

What is the strategic aim of the CIO and IT operations for the next financial year? 
To provide innovative, effective and reliable IT services, delivering transformational IMT projects successfully, and maintaining excellent relationships with customers, partners and suppliers.

Are you finding it difficult to recruit the talent you need to drive transformation?
Yes.

Has recruitment and retention risen up your agenda as a CIO?
Yes.

Are you looking for recruits in the EU to fill the skills shortage you have?
Yes.

Does your IT organisation operate an apprenticeship scheme?
Yes.

Surrey Council technology department

How would you describe your leadership style?
Open, honest, inclusive, challenging and collaborative.

Explain how you’ve supported and developed your senior leadership team to support your overall objectives and vision
The whole team have been on a high-performance development course where a number of techniques were used including coaching, building personal resilience and effective delegation. The team structure has been revised with the whole team to ensure that roles and responsibilities are clear. We also have a weekly morning session to review progress and ensure we are supporting each other to be successful. The production of roadmaps for applications, technical infrastructure and service strategy has also helped ensure we share common objectives and a common understanding.

How many employees are in your IT team?
200.

What is the split between in-house/outsourced staff?
80% in-house 20% use of partners (BT outsourced network, Esteem/Cap Gemini/Virtuoso/FutureGov partners).

Does your team include key skilled workers from the EU?
No.