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Cross Border Observatory to Optimise Public Service Delivery


Summary: The main aim of CBOOPSD is to gain a more detailed understanding of customer needs in Pas-de-Calais and Kent so that public services can be tailored to meet them.
Pas-de-Calais and Kent are comparable in area, have similar demographics and a similar urban and rural mix. They also face similar issues in the delivery of public services, and notably providing simple and easy access to all, linking similar public services together to ensure greater coherence, improving the efficiency of service delivery and tailoring services to the needs of the hard to reach.
This work will be informed by comparing the public service delivery models in both countries so that the best examples can be taken from both. By creating a crossborder model, partners will classify customers from Pas-de-Calais and Kent into common groups, then develop and test a customer service delivery framework which will be used to show how services can be tailored to fit the needs of each group.
Timeframe: 15.10.2008 - 31.12.2011
Total project budget: € 4 479 869
Total amount of ERDF requested: € 2 239 934
Grant rate: 50 %
Status: Closed
Web address: No link available at the moment
Priority and Operational objective addressed:Priority 3 b. Improve the quality of services to the population, including mobility and health care facilities.
Lead Partner:
Kent County Council
Project Coordinator:
Other partners:
Conseil Général du Pas-De-Calais
Agence d'Urbanisme et de Développement de la Région de Saint-Omer
Communauté d'Agglomération de Saint-Omer
Swale Borough Council
Canterbury City Council
Gravesham Borough Council
Thanet District Council
Tunbridge Wells Borough Council
Dover District Council
Tonbridge and Malling Borough Council
Ashford Borough Council
Dartford Borough Council
Medway Council
Shepway District Council
Maidstone Borough Council
Sevenoaks District Council


What was the project trying to achieve?

The aim of the CBOOPSD project is to help improve the delivery and quality of public services by gaining a more detailed understanding of customer needs in Pas de Calais and Kent so that public services could be tailored to meet the needs and expectations of different customer groups.

Objectives: To develop and implement customer services strategies that will improve the way in which services are delivered, reduce the delivery transaction costs where possible by delivering the service to each customer group by the most effective channel (face to face, phone, web). Equal access to services for all customers, ensuring socially and economically less well off groups are not disadvantaged. To develop and pilot a set of tools that identify the demand needs of customer groups so that services and service delivery can be tailored to match demand. To develp a common cross border model for customer insight tools, which can be implemented throughout the partnership.

What were the activities implemented?

The model identified a number of customer groups, each group having certain characteristics, which enable the partners to tailor their services to reflect their specific requirements, such as whether customers preferred face to face/phone/Internet.
Once the model had been developed, 5 Kent partners and 2 from Pas de Calais evaluated the model using selected service areas. The information provided by the tools enabled the pilot partners to develop a service delivery strategy that would then apply to further service areas.

Once the pilot model had been agreed Activity 2 involved implementing the model throughout the whole partnership, applying the tools to a wide range of service areas.

A number of themes were chosen to monitor the application of the tools throughout the partnership; Gateway (local service access points), libraries and mobility (provision of information and services to enable an integrated multi-modal transport service). During this period the tools were continually updated and refined as information became available and an awareness campaign was implemented to ensure all partner staff were aware of the benefits of using the model and implemented it throughout their organisations.
Tangible examples are the Gateway at Fauquembergues (FR) and Sheernes (EN), whilst examples of on-line services are the mobility portal and Ashford Voice,, an on-line magazine.
The final Activity was the evaluation and dissemination phase, designed to identify results and benefits, and then publicise these throughout the public sector provider network.

The partners developed a common evaluation template that identified benefits, lessons learnt and next steps. Using this template the partners were able to show that by applying the customer insight tools to inform their strategies they were able to improve the take-up of services, improve customer satisfaction and deliver services more efficiently. For example, the Dartford Green Waste Collection Scheme used the tools to target customers most likely to use the service and in doing so, increased service take-up within those groups by over 300% and the Kent Gateway network customer reported a customer satisfaction rate of 94% in December 20011.

The communications strategy ensured that the project results were widely publicised using the bi-lingual project web site, a hard and soft dissemination report and a seminar attended by of 50 officers


What were the key results of the project?

This project has helped partners implement significant improvements to the quality and efficiency of public services:

- Partners have improved their customer knowledge, to understand the demand needs of different customer groups.

- Partners have tailored services to the needs of each customer group, improving service take-up, increasing customer satisfaction rates and the efficiency of service delivery. - Partners have developed new service mapping methods to support future service development strategies.

- An evaluation of customer groups and their demand needs i.e. Some customers prefer using online services, others prefer face-to-face contact

- A number of new Gateways have now been launched to service this demand with a customer satisfaction rate of 94% (December 2011).

- All partners now have customer service strategies.

- Partners have developed new skills and expertise which will significantly help to deliver future improvements.

Did all partners and territories benefit from the results?

Target groups and beneficiaries: The target group for this project were the partners, the local authorities and other providers of public services and the main beneficiaries are their customers; the citizens in the area, particularly those at risk from social exclusion.
All partners have now implemented their customer service strategies, which has helped to improve the quality and efficiency of their services and the ways in which they are delivered. Partners now have the means to improve the quality of their services by targeting the needs of specific customer groups, and in doing so service delivery is more efficient and effective.

Customer groups requiring face-to-face services in Kent now have a growing network of Gateway, providing services from a range of different agencies, especially suited to the needs of the less well off. These have been sited in optimum locations to minimise the distance travelled so customers can obtain the services they need; the latest Gateway survey showed a satisfaction rate of 94%. The Maison des Services in Fauquembergues has proved this concept for French territories, and provides the service for the 9300 citizens of CCF.
Customer groups requiring online services now have a growing number of transactional services available, and the CASO digital portal , digital library are now available to all 65,00 inhabitants of the Agglomeration and the Saint-Omer Transport platform to the 120,000 inhabitants of the Saint-Omer region

What were the effects / outcomes for the territories involved?

Each partner has provided a case study which demonstrates the benefits for it’s own territory. For Kent, the most tangible outcomes are the 3 new Gateways. In Sheerness, the Gateway now provides access to public services, attracting 11,000 visitors per month. The new Ashford Gateway Plus has seen customer visits increase from 5,000 per month to 28,000 per month. Gravesham Gateway attracted 5,000 visitors per month and a customer satisfaction rate of 93% in October 2011. The MDS in Fauquembergues has welcomed an average of 350 customers a month for a range of services. The virtual MDS has been visited by 400 customers a month in it’s initial 6 months. The CASO digital portal and library, available to the 65,000 residents of the Agglomeration have both been receiving 3000 visitors per month.


What was the real added-value of doing this cross-border project?

One of the key added value elements of the project was to identify how cross border partners were addressing service improvement issues and their proposed solutions. For example, the Kent partners had been using new technology to improve services for some time, more so than the French partners. This enabled the French partners to learn from Kent’s experiences. The resultant model benefited from the experiences and input from both sides of the channel and as a result, became a more robust solution, one that could be applied elsewhere in the 2 Seas Area.

The Kent partners also benefited from the ways in which the French partners operated. The development of library services was of common interest to CG62 and KCC and a project group was formed to develop cross border working, which included site visits and workshops. Some of the ideas learnt on site visits where implemented by KCC as part of improvements to the library service

Have any synergies been developed with other projects or networks?

The partners have carried out a number of discussions with other public sector providers but none who are presently involved in either 2 Seas or other EU projects. There may be some links to other 2 Seas projects but none sufficient to justify any synergy at this point.

However, the partners plan to carry out an extensive dissemination process and it may well be that links can be made to other projects which will lead to future cooperation opportunities

Key messages and key lessons shared by the project

The strength of the partnership is probably one of the key factors in cross border working. Spending time on building and maintaining a successful working partnership is paramount. Ensuring all partners are fully involved is key to the success of the project and often ensures the sustainability and long lasting effect of the project work. However, working with a large partnership (18) can mean decision-making is protracted so a smaller partnership might be preferable.

Cross border projects involve working with partners of different nationalities. Using multiple languages may be a problem but perhaps more significant are the cultural differences. Not only do these involve recognising the different ways organisations are structured and operate across borders but also the way people think and work. It takes time to understand and accommodate these differences and it is important that this is done at the start of the project; time spent on this will pay dividends later.


Sustainability and long lasting effect at project level

All partners have seen benefits from using the tools; increased service take-up, increased service efficiency and increased customer satisfaction levels. For example Thanet District Council saw customers for its Green Waste Service increase by 16% in the first year of using the tools.

Pas de Calais and Kent partners have agreed to meet annually to monitor share progress and they plan a joint seminar in 2012 to promote their work to a wider audience. The project portal and web sites will be maintained to assist the on-going project work.

Additionally, in both Kent and Pas de Calais there are plans to continue the project work at a local level. In France the partners plan to apply the model throughout the whole Pas de Calais region. Whilst the Kent partners plan to continue using and enhancing the tools as the tools now form an integral part of their customer service strategies.

Sustainability and long lasting effect at networking level

Having achieved real benefits from the CBOOPSD project, the partners are keen to build upon the current work and continue to develop and enhance the tools, applying them to a wider range of service areas. The strong project partnership has helped to deliver the project benefits and all are keen to continue the work.

At the cross border level KCC and CG62 partners plan to continue working together and to continue discussions with other public service providers on how they may become involved in the project and help future development of the tools. The Kent partners are already in discussion with other providers such as the police, fire and rescue, health providers and are also in discussion with other councils such as Surrey County Council. Pas de Calais is conducting similar discussions with providers in its territory as it plans to role the CBOOPSD model throughout the region involving many other organisations.

Project resources such as the project portal and web sites will be maintained to assist the on-going project work and partners will continue to meet regularly to share good practise and ideas.

Finally, given the success of the CBOOPSD project, the project partners plan to explore opportunities for a further EU project that would help build upon the current work and continue development in ways that the partners are unable to do so given current budget constraints.

What’s next?

The approach of this project - building the customer demand model through customer insight and then targeting services to meet that demand - has been embedded in the lead partner through a new Customer Service Strategy. Specifically we will continue to use the tools to help us increase our targeting of services to particular groups to meet their needs. This strategy has a three year implementation programme and will involve a minimum of 250 full time staff on a day-to-day basis.
UK partners are also continuing to work together to sustain and develop the customer insight tools created through the project.
UK partners have also established a new customer service partnership board to learn, share and harmonise our delivery to shared customers.
We are currently working with cross border partners to develop two further projects probably under the Interreg channel programme, one focused on technology to support the competitive sustainability of local economies (Smart Cities) and a second to encourage social inclusion through online accounts, smartphones and smartcards (Life Card). Both these projects will draw on the specific customer insight tools developed in CBOOPSD and will also benefit from the wider project management experience we have gained.



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