Torbay Council Drives Efficiency in Financial Reporting for 100 Budget Holders with Logi Info
Torbay Council leveraged Logi Info to allow key stakeholders access to summarized budgetary information, then efficiently drill-down to individual cost centers. This provided Torbay with increased efficiency in both budget monitoring and management.
Torbay Council is a unitary authority in the county of Devon, England, with its main offices based on Torquay. The Council is committed to delivering high quality, cost efficient services to more than 131,000 residents. As the Council is funded by the public, it must ensure that all the decisions it makes are transparent and accountable to the people it serves. The financial systems team provide financial management information to all departments of the Council to support fiscal control in every aspect of the Council’s expenditure.
The Council had been leveraging a business intelligence (BI) system to run a range of daily, weekly and monthly reports for senior managers. This was done by exporting data into a data warehouse and running the reports overnight. These static reports were then manually uploaded onto the Council’s intranet site, where the information quickly became out of date.
“Our existing provider then alerted us that it was planning to withdraw support for the system we were using, and we were concerned that the necessary upgrade would prove to be an expensive and complex alternative,” said Jeff Scott, Principal Finance Officer, Finance Systems team.
With a major and costly BI system upgrade imminent, Torbay Council decided to review the market to see what alternative solutions were available, without a prohibitive price tag.
Being able to deploy Logi across the web, and give authorized users immediate, secure access from their desktops to check additional information without having to wait for a colleague to provide the data, is a real added benefit to us.
When Scott and members of the finance team reviewed Logi Info, they were not only impressed with its functionality, but could also see that reports generated through Logi Info could be run from the live system. This would eliminate the need to export data every day and increase efficiency considerably. All Councils in England and Wales must make details of expenditure in excess of £500 available to members of the public, and Logi Info could also be used to provide direct access to this information through the Council’s website.
The finance systems team provides financial information for around 100 Council budget holders in departments ranging from public health to children’s services and road building. With Logi Analytics, the team would be able to give users immediate access to additional data to support the top level statistics.
The key driver in the decision to implement Logi Info was the new functionality it would provide for managing and monitoring cost centers. “Being able to deploy Logi across the web, and give authorized users immediate, secure access from their desktops to check additional information without having to wait for a colleague to provide the data, is a real added benefit to us,” continued Scott.
Logi Info enables the finance team and budget holders to access budgetary information at a summary level and then efficiently drill down to review an individual cost center. Scott explained: “Each budget holder is responsible for a larger number of cost centers and Logi Info makes it very simple to review expenditure, see anticipated variances and total spend either on a line by line basis, or at a departmental level, and then look at a particular invoice or payment in close detail. Logi has given us increased efficiency in budget monitoring and management.” Accounts receivable can also be accessed through Logi Info, which gives the budget holders access to debt monitoring information.
The finance team has had excellent feedback from the Council budget holders that are using Logi Info. Information is easier to access than in the past, and budget holders like having the ability to drill down into the underlying data as it allows them to more quickly resolve issues.
Scott has also used Logi Info to set up automated processes to prompt if a scheduled activity has not taken place. For example, a user can check why a planned payment has not been made as expected, and doesn’t depend on one particular person being available to resolve the query. Additionally, Scott has used Info to create an automated alert to notify key members of the finance team should a system error occur. This allows the error to be rectified immediately and, if it happens out of office hours, avoids reports being held up until morning. “Logging on remotely and dealing with an error report in two minutes can save three hours of work the next day,” said Scott.
With pressure on Councils in England and Wales to provide value for money in all areas of expenditure, Torbay Council has made considerable e
fficiency savings and driven up the quality and responsiveness of its reporting through deploying Logi Info.
The financial team now has plans to build additional functionality and allow users to access data from their mobile devices.