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​At BetterGov we place people at the heart of what we do. Focusing on collaboration, sustainability and knowledge transfer, we have successfully supported our clients on their Digital Transformation journey, from discovery through to live and post go-live support.

As Public Sector specialists we understand that no two Public Sector organisations are the same, and the type of delivery support required can vary greatly. By listening to our clients over the years, we were able to refine our services to provide maximum value, without compromising the quality of support and expertise provided.

Partnering with BetterGov, our clients have swift access to GDS experienced specialists across Digital, Data, Technology, Process and Change whilst offering flexibility, scalability and cost savings through the following engagement options:​

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Specialist Interim Support

BetterGov is proud to be an independent business that has grown organically over the years and have attracted senior staff with sector-specific expertise. On average, our staff members have over a decade of experience within the recruitment and consulting industry, and have developed robust networks of specialists. This enables us to offer expertise on a time and materials basis to our clients who require only ad hoc, interim support.

Delivery of Outcomes

Utilising our in-house capabilities and expertise, BetterGov is uniquely positioned to assume the risk and responsibility of successful delivery of fixed priced outcomes. Through full life-cycle project/programme management and delivery of 'phases' or 'work packages' we are able to offer our clients various commercial and delivery options, ensuring true value for money.​

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Blended Multidisciplinary Teams

Collaboration is business as usual for BetterGov and working as part of a blended delivery team is welcomed. We are able to provide our own team of multidiscipline staff (i.e. Scrum teams) or we can supplement the 3rd party capability - external suppliers and civil servants alike. BetterGov actively promotes knowledge sharing to ensure sustainable benefit realisation after handover.

Internal Capability Development

Partnering with our clients, we are able to create and implement a strategy to increase internal capability through a number of development routes. We help overcome the challenge of identifying skill gaps and creating succession planning, whilst incorporating a focus on our clients' culture and diversity and inclusion ambitions. The result is less reliance on expensive external suppliers, as well as increased employee engagement and fostering a culture of continuous learning and improvement.

Explore our work...

BetterGov is proud to have successfully supported key transformational programmes across Public Sector, delivering sustainable outcomes and creating true value through internal capability development.

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8 Steps to Cost-effective Digital Service Delivery by Leveraging Trusted Relationships

Building trusted relationships and fostering a collaborative environment between clients and vendors in Digital Service delivery is at the forefront of every project we deliver here at BetterGov. Like a hand in a glove, cost optimisation is the 'all leading' compass dial. We know that this leads to affordable and sustainable changes that are useful and trusted by our clients. By doing what we do and doing it well, we aim to progressively minimise our role, instil confidence, and empower independent progress with robust support throughout the process. Throughout the BetterGov service delivery journey, we continuously prioritise these eight core elements Engage and understand key stakeholders Clearly define outcomes Create a one-team culture Active engagement by the Service Owner Internal capability development Regular standups and show-and-tell Shift left and shadowing  Seamless handovers 1 | Engage and Understand Key StakeholdersTrusted relationships hinge on essential principles. Early collaboration in various formats and an unwavering commitment to working closely with the key stakeholders significantly enhance the chances of success. Establishing early relationships between us and the team responsible for running the service helps anticipate and prepare for its integration into their processes. Or, more importantly, strong relationships with senior stakeholders ease challenges when they arise – no delivery is perfect. By spending the time, care and attention to understand our executives' challenges, providing a supportive ear, and genuinely engaging on both the human and professional levels, we build trust that can be relied upon at times of need and in the years to come.  ​2 | Clearly define outcomesDuring the contracting phase, defining clear outcomes is crucial. Recognising that these outcomes may evolve as the project progresses through various phases of digital delivery according to the Service Standard. Trust cultivated in the early stages significantly improves the potential for successful outcomes. A ‘Definition of Done’ at inception is critical – this will always be the key measure by which the delivery will be judged and will be the crux of the committed outcome.  While delivery itself will be done in an agile fashion, following the GDS Service Standard, with regular demonstration of how the product is evolving, the Definition of Done ensures that everyone is aiming for the same target. Vital user research at the Discovery phase and ongoing throughout delivery effectively informs the Definition of Done. It provides the business with regular feedback so that they can see how the product evolves to deliver business outcomes.  3 | Create a one-team cultureWe ensure no distinction between the clients and vendor partners in all our engagements. Regardless of affiliation and paymaster, each team member checks that badge at the virtual door and wears the metaphorical client armband. This ensures that the teams behave in a unified manner and that all parties actively engage in a mutually agreed collaborative culture. Where possible, at the start of any engagement, we propose workshops across all team members to build an effective covenant and trust between team members. This ensures that a collaborative culture develops that is trust-based and mutually respectful, with all members focused on delivering the business and technical outcomes  ​4 | Active engagement by the Service OwnerEffective outcome delivery can best be done through a committed Service Owner. The Service Owner is responsible for the end-to-end service, including business and operations, which is larger than the technical delivery and outcomes. Sitting between business, technology delivery, and operations, the Service Owner ensures that the company remains informed throughout the product evolution while ensuring that the operations teams understand how to support the new product in service. ​5 | Internal capability developmentEarly in the engagement, BetterGov works with client stakeholders, the Service Owner in particular, to identify potential gaps in capability. By design, when the product is handed over, BetterGov will hand over the entire solution to civil servants. We ask fundamental questions – do the civil servant team members understand the technology and delivery methodologies? Is there capability to support the product once the vendor team completes its work?  Does the support team have the right infrastructure to improve the product continually? In asking these questions, we create a matrix with the client on where teams need upskilling. For example, if developers aren't entirely comfortable with the chosen development language, we pair them with our developers until they are comfortable. If methodologies are not aligned, we will ensure workshops are in place to get everyone on board.  Our main goal is to ensure that when we leave a project, the civil servant team feels they have received more than an excellent deliverable and that they have improved their personal and professional skills as a result of their engagement with BetterGov. ​6 | Regular Standups and Show-and-TellsIt comes as no surprise that all BetterGov deliveries primarily follow the GDS Service Standards. Of the guidance on agile principles and ways of working, we are particularly keen on the tenet "Go see for yourself." By regularly participating in Show-and-Tells, key stakeholders at all levels remain aligned, and the product can be stress tested. Business users and the service owner get regular insight into the product and whether it will achieve the desired outcomes.  Ongoing user research is key to ensuring that what's being built is what the users need and that a feedback loop can be fostered back to the business through this mechanism. By fostering – and insisting upon – this level of openness and transparency, trust and collaborative culture continues to evolve. 7 | Shift Left and ShadowingOften, there are different civil servant teams doing product delivery and operations, especially in a vendor-heavy engagement. Keeping on the theme of one-team, the delivery team actively engages with the operations team throughout the delivery lifecycle, even from the early discovery phase.  Operations and support are users, too, and their needs must be considered from the outset to have a successful service, so user research must be done on how the new service will integrate into a support organisation.  As delivery progresses into private beta, it's key to second a technologist from the support organisation into delivery, ensuring that there is core technical knowledge early in the support lifecycle. They can provide valuable insight into how technical decisions potentially impact the support teams. The term for this approach is 'shift left', bringing people in from the end of a delivery cycle much earlier. Similarly, as part of our delivery, some staff will 'shift right' and embed with the operations team for a time after the product is delivered. This approach is both a 'shadowing' concept, letting the support team fully upskill while having the product delivery team available if needed, as well as advice. For example, how will the support team evolve the service after it's deployed. ​8 | Seamless HandoversSuccessful implementation of the core delivery phases, especially considering the above points, leads to a seamless service handover and happy staff. Especially toward the end of public beta and as the service prepares to enter the live service, the extra support as part of shift left and shadowing ensures successful delivery.   We know that if we do all these things properly, especially setting ourselves up for success at the outset, civil service colleagues can take the service live – pain-free. We will have the satisfaction that not only was the delivery successful but that we have left the client environment, as well as individual civil service team members, in a better place. And that we are no longer needed. ​That's ultimately what we're about; we're BetterGov. ​​Authored by David Lewis, strategic lead at BetterGov. "I've been working in digital transformation with His Majesty's Government on and off for several years. I've been on both the buyer and supplier sides of the equation.  I've seen digital services supported by vendors go phenomenally well, just as I have seen trainwrecks – both in the bidding process and in active delivery" – David Lewis

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Care Cap and Adults’ Social Care Reforms

​​GET READY – it’s coming – the Care Cap is on its way!As we all know by now, English Local Authorities need to be ready to provide Care Accounts and adhere to the new Care Cap from October 2023, with early assessments recommended from April 2023. This means there is limited time for Local Authorities to embed a very new way of working for social workers, and to make the necessary changes to social care case management systems. It will inevitably have a profound impact on already stretched Adults’ Social Care teams.​The Charging Reforms will present several operational challenges to Local Authorities, such as:Increased demand: Local Authorities will be obligated to offer additional support to self-funders in terms of assessments, care accounts and provision of support packages. Reviewing of cases and monitoring of care caps will also place increased pressure on local authority resourcesUp to date information: Local Authorities will need to ensure they are offering accurate, up to date information, advice, and signposting to services, requiring additional effort in keeping information accurateNew ways of working: Local Authorities need to be able to handle new ways of working, including the ability to effectively support self-funders, the provision and support of Care Accounts and the transfer of Care Accounts between authoritiesTraining: Staff across services need to understand the reforms and be able to advise and assist citizens at all stages of their social care journeySupport: There will be new processes and likely functionality that need supporting from a business and IT perspective In addition to the operational challenges, there are implementation challenges that Local Authorities need to be aware of:There will be a greater focus on portability of information, so Local Authority processes and systems must meet requirements outside of their teams and systems.Local Authorities will need to complete a fair cost of care analysis exercise to determine what charges self-funders will be required to pay for their care.There will be additional reporting requirements that need to be supported by processes and systems, potentially including new statutory requirements. Case Management system processes will need to be updated to ensure data is being captured and surfaced accurately and securely. Additional functionality may be required, depending on system maturity in each authority e.g., online portals, self-assessment tools, service directories, care account reporting etc. There is limited time to implement the changes to processes and systemsNew case management system functionality may attract additional charges that Local Authorities need to plan for How BetterGov can helpBetterGov are specialists in social care consultancy and systems implementation. Our experienced teams have successfully implemented over two dozen social care case management systems and are well placed to support clients navigate and overcome the challenges created by the adult social care reforms.  We can help with:Full reconfiguration projects considering all the Care Cap and Adults’ Social Care ReformsBusiness Process re-engineering of current workflows and forms redesign to take account of new ways of workingWorkflow recommendations and re-configuration of current case management systemsOption appraisals of supplier’s additional case management system modules and functionality to meet the charging reform requirements – portals and other online offerings will be a particularly important aspect of doing more with little or no additional resourceAny additional infrastructure requirements to meet a potential increase in data and storage needsAdditional testing supportReporting needs analysis and report writingTraining needs analysis and trainingImplementation support at go liveInterested in a conversation? Please contact Martin Johnston - [email protected]

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Digital Social Work - Modernisation & Innovation

​Read our full report here.​The government has now set out plans to allocate over £1bn in funding for social care reform over the next three years following the release of its new national social care strategy. Local government and care sector leaders welcomed the document's ambitions, and there is a commitment to invest around £150 million in new technology solutions, which includes technology enabled care, and support for service provider organisations. However, one of the recurring problems the Local Authority social care sector faces is about knowing how much to invest in digital solutions for strategic and successful change alongside identifying accurately, what it currently spends to determine how it can achieve more value from this. Common expectations across the government agencies that impact or influence social care include: That in this technological age, there ought to be a greater level of digital solutions to support citizen engagement in public services. Having a public sector workforce that is digitally enabled to plan and deliver these services. That the commercial technology providers that support public service, design and develop good quality system solutions at reasonable prices to achieve both aims. In terms of social care organisations, given the well-publicised perilous state of funding, an existing shortfall in skilled resources and the substantial increase in service demands, it is unclear as to how LA’s are meant to achieve these things, what they might cost, and how they might be paid for. Solving these problems for clients is ‘work-in-progress’ at BetterGov, and to encourage debate and dialogue on these topics it has now published a new report on the challenges on meeting this ‘knowledge gap’ and welcomes ideas and comments to help increase modernisation and innovation through digital solutions. ​Read our full report here.​

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Need help planning for Financial Assessment Uplift this year?

​Local authorities are required to conduct a financial assessment for the majority of social care clients in receipt of chargeable services. This can amount to thousands of assessments and because pensions and other benefits are increased annually these should be maintained with current benefit rates and other increases to ensure correct charging. Manually updating financial assessments annually is a task requiring significant time and effort. Even for two or three thousand assessments this is simply not possible to complete for updated charges to be in place in line with the date of pension and benefit increases in early April each year.​Fortunately, there is another way! The leading Social Care and Finance system all have built in functionality to automatically uplift financial assessments. This is often referred to as the “Financial Assessment Bulk Uplift” or “FABU” process. Financial assessment data is recorded on forms that capture information needed for the financial assessment e.g. client income, benefits, capital and expenses. The form calculates an “Ability to Pay” and where appropriate this is used as the basis for client charging.​The uplift process takes the data on all existing forms and create a new form for each client that contains the new financial or benefit year pension and other appropriate increases. A new “Ability to Pay” is calculated that applies from any chosen date though this is usually the start of the benefit year. Once setup and tested it is possible to process all eligible existing financial assessments in a matter of a few hours saving significant time and effort for local authority financial assessment teams and ensuring that local authority revenue is maximised on time and from the start of the financial year.​As with any process care must be taken to ensure that the correct updates are produced and of course don’t forget the mail merge which is required to notify Citizen of the changes. It is important to ensure that the uplift is set up correctly and to test thoroughly prior to implementation.​BetterGov has supported several local authorities over a number of years in both the initial implementation of uplifts and ongoing running. We also frequently transition the expertise to in-house staff undertaking the exercise. We have built up structure alongside a tried and tested structured approach. Some of the services we provide in this regard include:​A. Updating rates, testing and running the process end to endB. Troubleshooting issues and finding solutionsC. Assisting with complex mail merges for – one of the councils we support had over 15,000 financial assessment uplifts and corresponding letters which needed to be sent outD. Development of applications to validate uplift resultE. Upskilling and ‘handholding’ of internal staffF. Lastly a friendly ‘sounding board’ for our customers​There have been many challenges and hurdles to overcome, the feedback we have got from our customers has always been warm and positive. If you do need help with the 2022 uplift do get in contact.

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