Lancashire County Council

Hybrid Mail

Briefly describe the initiative/ project/ service

Hybrid mail (HM) is a new innovation within the mail industry, LCC have proactively embraced this technology. We have rolled HM out across over 650 users & over 10 different service areas across LCC. Roll out is continuing with 6 further service areas expressing an interested in this technology.

HM allows users to mail items from their desk without needing to print a letter, address an envelope & take it to the post tray. Users “press a button”, their letter is printed, inserted into an envelope and mailed from the central mail service. The user can track the item of mail until it leaves the authority and can recall the mail item.

HM saves money, postcodes can be auto-recognized leading to savings in mailing costs. Although an innovative and pioneering change, HM comes into its own and is transformational when used by mobile workers. We have implemented HM across social care where social workers use mobile devices in the operational field on a daily basis.

From mobile devices social workers can send letters to service users whilst in the field. This negates the need to return to the office simply to post a letter. Hybrid technology contributes towards social workers being able to see more service users on a daily basis.

Why do you think it should win this award?

I feel that we should win this award because:
• This is true innovation and a new why of working which in being rolled out across a large scale complex organisation.
• The team have implemented a change across multiple service areas and managed to successfully implement this change in some cases in services areas which were restructuring and reducing in numbers. A challenge which required extreme tact and diplomacy and relationship management skills.
• Traditionally innovation has been at best slow in the mail sector as a whole so to have identified and implement a new innovation is a real achievement.
• Saving of over £50,000 have been generated to date with further savings coming on steam.
• The solution gives more control to the end user and gives assurances any potential valuable or important mail item has been processed and posted. Something which does not exist using traditional postage and “out tray” in the office methods.
• Hybrid mail demonstrates where what is seen by many as a traditional back office function can and is driving innovation in a large scale complex organisation, across many different service areas.

What are the key achievements?

Implementation has generated savings of over £50,000. Savings will increase month on month as users using hybrid mail increases. Forecast savings will increase to over £100,000 within a year.

These savings don’t seem substantial across an authority the size of Lancashire. The real key achievement has been through implementing change & innovation in a service where there has been little opportunity to innovative or realise savings. This is due to the wider mail industry as a whole has traditionally operated. Opportunities to make savings & innovate has been through procurement & looking for opportunities to change suppliers to lower costs. The opportunity to make savings these savings has diminished as the market place has become more competitive through industry reforms.

Implementation of hybrid mail clearly demonstrates where a traditional back office service function can make a real difference in driving efficiency and implementing positive changes across the organisation. HM allows not only savings to be made, but also contributes to social workers and other operational staff being able to see more service users on a daily basis. This contributes towards making a real difference improving the lives of vulnerable people.