Herefordshire leads the UK in the way it brings health and local govern- ment together in a uniquely strong partnership to deliver improved public services for their customers.
In early 2008, Herefordshire Council and NHS Herefordshire became the first local authority and primary care trust to form a new kind of partnership, based on a shared vision to work together and achieve efficient, excellent, and value for money services. Herefordshire Hospitals Trust are now to join the partnership.
Herefordshire have invested in new systems to drive improvements in how social care cases are managed, as well as new systems to share information across several areas of operation, bringing together human resources, payroll, finance and procurement systems to make them more efficient.
“Collaboration is essential in a large organisation such as this.”
Dave Humphreys, IT, Herefordshire Council
Following so many changes in a relatively short space of time, Hereford- shire Council decided it needed to review some IT functions. These included replacing the current intranet, reducing data/document duplication and adopting a future-proof solution that could grow and change as required.
Because of the need to work efficiently and effectively with Herefordshire NHS Trust, SharePoint was the obvious choice.
Following an informal chat with an igroup consultant about SharePoint, Herefordshire arranged a one-day workshop to enable a full report to be produced.
With the report to hand, Herefordshire could begin making fully informed business decisions that would ensure they gave the best possible service to individuals served by the Council and the NHS Trust.
The potential for problems resulting from the joining of two large public sector organisations has been virtually eliminated by the use of SharePoint to ensure collaboration is easily achieved.
Since 2008, Herefordshire Council and Herefordshire NHS have been working in partnership to provide a better service to the people in their area, whilst at the same time reducing overall costs and duplication of roles.
Although now working out of a single corporate headquarters, it is paramount that documentation is readily available to all staff and that collaboration between departments is easily achieved.
The council had decided that it would be appropriate to upgrade to SharePoint 2010 from their existing 2007 version as this offered many enhancements which would be of value.
Herefordshire contacted igroup and arranged for a review of their existing SharePoint installation, realising that this would be the best way of getting a professional, independent assessment of existing processes. Upon production of the report Herefordshire were clearly able to see where they could best invest in to gain maximum benefit from the upgrade.
The over-riding priority when considering how best to customise and develop SharePoint was the requirement for collaboration between the two original partners, the council and Herefordshire NHS, and now also to include Herefordshire Hospitals NHS Trust.
Several areas were identified where improvements would be use- ful, including Portals and Collaboration, Enterprise Content Management, Enterprise Search and team sites.
igroup’s relationship with Herefordshire is continuing as the recommendations put forward in the report are considered and implemented as required. The council have already seen the of the impartial report as they are able to make
after minimal outlay. As the improvements are rolled out, inter and intra departmental integration is increased, with staff being able to access files quickly and securely. One of the initial problems to be overcome was a wariness by staff of any new working practices. Happily, as staff can begin to see the value of the improvements, including the eventual elimination of double handling of data, they are embracing the new processes and providing positive feedback.
One major advantage for Herefordshire is that they have had valuable technical help with creating the SharePoint architecture, something that will make the whole implementation process run more smoothly.