Director of Central Administration in Hvidovre Municipality Mr. Gert S. Nelth: "We want to digitalise as many processes as possible, ie. simplification and automation whereever possible. For us context and integration is most crucial. Data stored in one place must be easily accessible for other dedicated systems. IT increases the efficiency and removes the risk of errors."

The key points in Hvidovre Municipality’s digitalisations strategy “IT with a purpose” is that IT must free resources and support increased it integration – one unit management across administrations, departments and institutions.

The turning point in this strategy is an Acadre-solution from Formpipe. “An electronic case and document management system like Acadre creates exactly the context across the whole organization that we aim for. It is the foundation for developing and improving the relations between the citizens, the administrations and the politicians.” says Gert S. Nelth.

The main task, digital filing and case management has already led to noticeable effectiveness in the Central Administration in Hvidovre Municipalities. Soon to follow is the digitalisation in relation to  the political process ie. creation and publishing of agendas and minutes.

Citizens as their own Case workers

Gert S. Nelth indicates that the digital Citizens Administration is fundamental for further IT development.

“IT must be the citizens preferred shortcut to the municipalitiy. We would like to turn the citizens into their own case workers. It requires that the citizens can view all information stored by the municipality. Therefore it is important that the master data is stored in one place. Today we have implemented an advanced placing system for daycare, where parents sign up, and  subsequently are able to see their child’s number in the queue. Hence that they are much better able to engage in an interactive dialogue. It is quite clearly that the contact is changing from personal contact to digital contact – and the citizens are ready for it.”

Critical factors

The implementation of Acadre involved up to 70 employees in the Municipalities. “It is the largest IT system we have implemented, and it obviously challenges both culture and systems. It has been very important for us to handle all challenges proactively by eliminating the reasons to scepticism and – if possible – work our way out of it. During the process we have had consultant assistance from Rambøll, who is very experienced in resistance patterns when IT is being implemented. Rambøll was also assisting us when designing optimal processes.” tells Gert. S. Nelth.

We have distinguished sharply between the tasks in respectively work- and steering committee and made sure that all questions regarding resources was handled in the steering committee only. In addition to this it is also about avoiding that single issues take a disproportionate long time and lead to frustration in the workgroup.

Overall I think the progress has been  satisfactory, but that does not mean all problems are solved. We still have elements that needs adjustments and finetuning and we have a plan for where and how.

Hvidovre Municipality has used the Prince2-model in the initial phase, a model which includes a thorough stakeholder analysis and an ongoing risk assessment.

“We have followed the model slavic in order to address all essential problem areas. It is important with a transparent structure listing challenges and risks – and with clear responsibilities.”

“The choice of project managers had very high priority. At the same time it is necessary to know  your own organization including the 'noise makers' – because you need to work dynamic with communication. It is crucial to respond quickly as you go along, that also goes for decision making and who you choose to inform in a  given situation.” says Mr. Gert S. Nelth. “Did we sense any disturbance,  we reacted immediately to dismantle misunderstandings. On the whole I think the project managers have been good in identifying issues that had to be addressed.”

Communication     

Gert S. Nelth clearly states that Hvidovre aims towards realising efficiency potential, but deliberately avoid talking about specific FTEs. “We have not communicated efficiency targets because it generates resistance. Digitization 'is sold' as a development of quality which, on top enables the possibility to cash-in on rationalisations and redirect free recourses to other tasks.” 

“In my opinion the municipality has done very well, because from the beginning it has been clear that change of IT-systems would not lead to layoffs. Where a function has been shut down the situation has either been handled via natural retirement or by organizational changes as well as upgrading of competencies. If the employees are motivated they can benefit personally from this in the long run. Of course also elderly people can and are willing to learn something new – and good colleague and on-the-job-training will get you far.”

“Today everybody is using the phrase 'cost reduction' but I think it is an unintelligent rhetoric. It's about freeing resources, so why the negative background music? It is far better to focus on what the free resources are used for – and how we in due time take care of the effected employees.”

IT-Leadership

In 2011 Hvidovre municipality brings IT leadership on the agenda.
“Today there is in principle a digital solution to everything – therefore we consider IT as a tool like every other tool.”

“Now it is about changing managers and employees' understanding of when IT can contribute effectively to all processes. Therefore in 2011 all municipal managers will  be invited to an IT-leadership programme in order to become conscious of how IT in their particular dicipline can be incorporated and lead to an improved citizen service, increased employee satisfaction – and to automation of routine tasks. We aim at our employees becoming much more open towards the many improvement opportunities that modern IT technology offers. This is what we understand from our slogan – IT with a purpose.”

“We must focus on the tasks we need to solve. And from there go to the market to see which solution complies the most with the specific need. It does not always have to come from our usual supplier. But there are of course areas where it makes sense to merge disciplines, so for instance financial management works optimally with procurement and accounting. We must automate everywhere it makes sense and in such a way it increases the context.” says Gert S. Nelth.                   

IT with meaning

The vision for Hvidovre municipality is to be “known for wise offers of good digital services to citizens and companies and offer the city leaders and employees to take part in and contribute to an effective IT-support of their working processes.”