The City of Edinburgh Council (the Council) has many teams who are responsible for administering and recording financial transactions. It is critical these teams have a robust system in place to record all incoming and outgoing transactions, to reconcile cash and bank accounts and can provide reports on accounts and activity.
Following an internal audit, the team at the council found that the current systems weren’t fit for purpose because reporting and recording of money was conducted via the traditional computerised spreadsheet.
This is a problem for many local authorities. Why?
Spreadsheets are cumbersome to maintain, especially across a wide network, and their reliance on manual entry leaves them vulnerable to human error. However, the main plus factor in using spreadsheets is in their simplicity to use for those who aren’t tech savvy.
The council teams needed a solution that was user-friendly, didn’t require technical expertise to use, and could be installed quickly to ensure the teams were compliant. The major stumbling block for the council was that this system simply did not exist for local authorities.
But all this changed following a recommendation from the auditor advising the team to speak to the authority’s schools team, which were already using Pebble’s Tali software for their financial management.
Tali was originally set up with schools in mind, but given the varied nature of schools’ needs it was designed to be highly adaptable from day one.
Schools have very specific needs with regard to finance management. Some have multiple sites, for example, with spread-out centres of activity.
Pebble’s approach was geared towards making this built-in adaptability and multi-site capability work for its social care teams, including those in the Council’s partner organisation, Edinburgh Health and Social Care Partnership. To do this, we worked closely and collaboratively with the Council’s business support manager and team.
It was important to recognise the council has stringent requirements for data handling and security, so we demonstrated Tali’s strengths in this area, addressing any concerns regarding compliance as early as possible in the project.
Once we’d satisfied these requirements, the next step was to look at how to adapt Tali for service users across Edinburgh. This meant switching from a model based on pupils to one based on clients; a first for Pebble. One of our first tasks was to replace registration number, school year and class details with individual client data.
By approaching the challenge in this way, we were able to save time by not creating new user IDs and instead focus our efforts on ensuring the data migration was robust, painless, and compliant with data regulations.
The Tali rollout has taken place over four phases, and Pebble has supported this by delivering remote training as and when required.
This enabled the council, and Pebble, to overcome the potential obstacles put in place by the pandemic, with most people involved in the rollout working from home.
Throughout the process, strong and clear two-way communication has been the key to minimising disruption.
The rollout of Tali covered:
Typically, different social care teams process around 30 transactions a day, including both cash and bank activities.
For the council, the experience has been extremely positive, and they’ve shared their experience Tali, and Pebble’s support, to another council.
For Pebble, this has enabled us to demonstrate the adaptability of Tali, and we were able to complete one of our fastest ever rollouts through the hard work of everyone involved.
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