VENTURA, Calif. – The County of Ventura Service Excellence Program was implemented in June 2008 and, in its first 10 years, has generated more than $33 million in ongoing annual savings and had a direct impact on the lives of the county’s residents.
The program’s objective is to foster a culture of service excellence through the County’s agencies and departments. It seeks to achieve this goal through a culture which embraces continuous improvement and data-based decision-making as a means of enhancing the quality, speed, consistency and cost of County services.
“We’ve completed more than 1,100 improvements across our agencies and service areas,” said County Executive Officer Mike Powers. “As a result, customers have experienced shortened wait times, higher quality services, more online access to services and extended hours of service. We want our customers to be able to spend more time online, and less time in line. The program has also reduced overhead costs which translates into freezing or minimizing fee increases, freeing up resources to further enhance services.”
A key strength of the program is its team approach, driven by the talented County workforce on the front lines – the people who know the most. The County relies on these people to help streamline the operations and avoid the processes that lack purpose. To date, 4,700 employees have received training in the methods and tools of continuous improvement.
“A program like this can only be created and sustained with unwavering leadership,” said Paul Stamper, Deputy Executive Officer and Service Excellence Manager. “The Board of Supervisors, the County Executive Officer the and County leadership team have supported this program and enabled it to thrive.”
As more employees receive the training, the savings continue to grow. In the most recent fiscal year, there were 114 Service Excellence improvements with an associated savings of $3.8 million.
“Over the last decade, significant events such as the Affordable Care Act, safety realignment, foster care reform and, most recently, the Thomas Fire have impacted the County,” said Powers. “In every case, the Service Excellence Program gave us the internal capacity to resolve issues and meet customer needs. One example of this is the expedited building permit process for Thomas Fire survivors.”
The County has taken the award-winning program one step further by sharing it with other cities and counties and establishing an ongoing training relationship with California State University Channel Islands.