Development of CapacityGRID (as it became) begins in 2006 with the move towards a common operating model. The first significant milestone is the release of the Performance and Process Management Toolkits designed to boost productivity and performance across the service.
We start to develop a model based on a 'virtual shared service' methodology. This is all about optimising work organisation principles rather than geographic location.
A work management approach is developed and systems were configured to enable work to flow through the virtual network to the individual with the right skills. Local supervisors continue to exercise performance management responsibilities, but the work is managed through systems controlled from a command and control hub.
The first big test of the virtual model occurs at the beginning of 2009, some six months after Lehman Brothers went into Administration.
Over a three week period in February, the impact of the economic downturn leads to case volumes increasing and remaining 30% above their trend average.
Despite this challenge, because the virtual network provides much greater day-to-day resilience, benefit cycle times continue to fall and productivity continues to climb.
Richard Penska, Assistant Finance and Resources Director at North Somerset Council said: "We saw our benefits caseload rise by a significant amount in 2009. Without this model we'd have gone straight into backlog. Now by sharing capacity, we are able to spread the pressure across the network."
We embark on a programme of change and innovation. By sharing this new approach, customers can avoid lengthy specification, procurement procedures and comparative exercises (for shared services) as local authority budget reductions begin to bite and time restrictions become too tight.
We pre-announce the CapacityGRID strategy and how this will radically change how the private sector supports public services.
CapacityGRID is launched to the local government marketplace. 7 local authorities join in the following month, using ‘Anytime’ services on demand.
CapacityGRID wins the 'IRRV Gold award for Excellence in Innovation'.
CapacityGRID services are adopted by 4 local authorities, bringing the total to 11 members. Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council becomes first 'Active' member.