Lean Thinking is a business methodology which aims to provide a new way to organise activity to deliver benefits while eliminating waste. Lean Practices have been successfully applied in a number of Welsh local authorities including Neath Port Talbot and Blaenau Gwent.

The term Work Wise was selected as an overarching name for the application of Lean Systems Thinking in Bridgend County Borough Council (BCBC). Four service areas were identified by BCBC to participate in Work Wise Reviews:

  • Taxation

  • Housing Benefits

  • Pupil Services and

  • Highways Maintenance.


The Challenge:


Modernising the flow of information


Central to the redesign of Highways Maintenance was the replacement of bureaucratic paper based processes with streamlined ICT solutions. This redesign identified a potential £26,000 of efficiency gains through implementation of the following redesign characteristics:

Rationalisation of multiple work flows to improve the flow of work, reduce overheads, reduce the potential for errors and reduce administrative resource.

Introduce electronic mobile working to increase responsiveness, increase speed of maintenance response, potentially reduce litigation costs, reduce administrative costs and reduce time waiting for stores materials.

Deliver customer interface through Customer Service Team to provide real time feedback for users of the service and provide cost neutral funding for the Telephone Contact Centre.

Trial the introduction of gang sheets as opposed to individual time sheets to reduce administration.

Remove the client contractor split to eliminate internal charging, minimise administration costs and reduce the work fed into the financial function.

The use of Causeways Asset Management Systems was instrumental in achieving a number of the above objectives.

The Solution


Supporting wise working


BCBC is a long term user of Causeways Asset Management Software with solutions in place to support the Highways, Street Works and Street Lighting functions.

The integration of Causeways back office systems, in the first instance Causeways Highways, with the council’s Microsoft Dynamics Customer Relationship Management (CRM) was critical in the rationalisation of multiple work flows. Reports from the public could now be directly logged by members of the customer facing team without, in most cases, intervention from specialist staff. This dramatically reduced the administrative burden for individual service area, resulting in measurable financial savings while providing a single point of contact for customers – therefore improving the overall customer service experience.

The introduction of mobile working, initially in Highways, was also made possible through the use of Causeways Asset Management software. Causeways Mobile for Highways allowed Inspectors to link field based duties and operations to the back office system, and, therefore, to the council’s CRM. Inspection schedules and ad hoc requests could be automatically transmitted to an Inspector in the field who, with access to in-built mapping and street gazetteers, could more efficiently plan and undertake day to day duties. On completion of a route, street inspection records, together with any defects noted, were uploaded from the mobile units to the central management system, which processes the information and issues works orders to operational staff and updates to the CRM.

Having proved the financial gains and efficiency improvements of Causeways Asset Management solution supported mobile working BCBC made a decision to upgrade the devices used and also increase the number of devices used with roll out across the council’s Street Lighting and Street Works services. Jason Jenkins Highways Network Manager stated: “The joining up of front office customer support with back office service delivery helped with the Work Wise objective of removal of the client contractor split. This supported integration allowed for the easy flow of information and underpinned more efficient working practices.”


"Causeway's supported integration allowed for the easy flow of information and underpinned more efficient working practices."


Jason JenkinsHighways Network Manager


The Outcome:


Cost and time efficient reporting and repair processes


BCBC has secured a number of benefits which can be directly linked to tangible service improvements as a result of the integration of Causeways back office systems with the council’s CRM function and the introduction of new mobile working practices. These include:

  • An increase in the responsiveness of service; meaning both highways are street lighting defects are assessed more quickly.

  • The potential for reduced litigation costs as a result of an increase in the speed of maintenance response.

  • A reduction in the administrative costs of running the service with cashable financial savings in the region of £35,000 per annum, in the Communities directorate.

  • Improved customer service with real time feedback for residents and elected members and a reduction in failure demand dealt with in the TCC.

  • Cost neutral funding of the TCC leading to increased resilience and easier access to service for citizens.


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