Council far exceeds savings targets and operates more efficiently with budget and forecasting solution
Cheshire West and Chester Council has saved £1 million with budget and forecasting solution, Collaborative Planning from Advanced Business Solutions (Advanced). The council has been using the Collaborative Planning solution since January 2012 and has exceeded its original savings target of £500,000.
The Council had recently undergone funding cuts and needed to reduce costs, so a key priority for the consolidated Finance team was to increase productivity and provide tighter controls around spending.
Collaborative Planning integrates with the council’s Oracle financial system and simplifies the entire budget monitoring process, making it easier to input and analyse information. The solution provides real-time information through a single-based web system and allows budget managers anywhere in the council to compare budgets with forecasts.
The solution was selected after a thorough evaluation of the market and since using the solution, the Council has vastly improved its budget monitoring and forecasting capabilities, with one benefit including data consolidation and the quick and easy downloading of data. Collaborative Planning also has the flexibility the organisation urgently required and its ease of use has since maximised the positive take-up by budget-holders.
Charlotte Wynn, Finance Manager, Cheshire West and Chester Council, says, “On the back of the Collaborative Planning system, we have completely transformed our Finance service, and delivered £1 million in savings. On top of that we anticipate additional savings because the solution allows budgets to be managed more closely, which encourages people to query spending.”
Miscoding, double counting and other human errors associated with manual data input and an over-reliance on spreadsheets have been eliminated and with a single system, staff find it much easier to spot issues.
“Integrating all the data can be done almost at the touch of a button now, which has reduced our reporting cycle by over a week. The whole process is a lot better now that there is a single version of the truth, which everyone has access to,” Wynn continues.
Originally, the organisation earmarked savings of £500,000 over three years and has already exceeded this target in just twelve months, with the budgeting and forecasting solution.
The scale of transformation enabled by Collaborative Planning has resulted in the Council being shortlisted for a prestigious “Transformation Through IT” award from the local government Municipal Journal.