Delivering critical support services for 700,000 citizens, Leeds City Council is the second largest Metropolitan authority in Great Britain – and it wants to be seen as the best.

Published 28 October 2019

Last updated 28 October 2019

Leeds City Council becoming the best, with less

It is a vision that drives the council, from the quality of services it provides to the way they are delivered. In an era of austerity and cuts to public sector spending, it’s a challenging goal to achieve.


Tackle inefficiencies and unmanaged costs in print services to help safeguard vital community services.

The challenges

  • decentralised print system and a variety of devices that was hard to manage
  • ineffective control of costs due to lack of reliable data
  • inefficient and wasteful document workflows
  • fragmented print fleet impacted the environmental targets

The approach

Over the last few years, Leeds City Council has noticed a change in the way that citizens interact and access public services. Helena Phillips, Chief Officer of Shared Services at the council, explains:

People want greater flexibility when using public services. More and more communication is taking place on digital channels, and so the challenge we are faced with is to safeguard and evolve the services we offer within shrinking budgets.

At the same time as citizen expectations are changing, councils across the UK are also looking for ways to work smarter; to drive efficiencies, improve staff productivity and reduce their impact on the environment.

Driven by its “simplify, standardise and share” ethos, the council resolved to review internal processes and seek new ways to tackle inefficiencies. Kirsty McCarthy, Managed Print Services Manager, said:

My team were spending their days dealing with errors and trying to minimise disruption. The priority for us was to implement a smart solution that would save the council money and give us all back our time.

Canon instantly assumed the role of a strategic partner rather than a supplier.

Andrew Byrom, Service & Infrastructure Manager.

The solution

As a registered supplier with the Crown Commercial Service framework, Canon worked closely with the council to develop an organisation-wide printing strategy and solution, using the Multifunctional Devices and Services, Managed Print Services and Print Audit Services framework (RM1599). An ambitious goal was set to completely replace the old print solution in only 6 months.

Team members were completely dedicated and went above and beyond every day – especially during the challenging transition phase. The technology was so good and easy to use, people just embraced it.

Andrew Byrom, Service & Infrastructure Manager.

The results

Expert advice resulted in the creation of a bespoke print solution under one management service to increase efficiency and responsiveness of the workforce, as well as control and limit costs.

PrintSmart made an immediate financial impact, saving the council £400,000 to date. Approximately 30% was saved in the very first year.

  • the number of print devices was rationalised by 39%
  • this has resulted in an overall 25% reduction in print volume in the first year alone
  • saved 12,565,709 A4 sheets of paper, £61,570 in financial savings
  • electricity levels have been dramatically reduced, financial saving of £12,000

Key achievements

Small improvements have made big differences to workforce productivity, saving time for staff and technical support teams. The ability to scan and fax to email, for example, enables staff to be more responsive. The advanced scanning feature streamlines the process by scanning documents to the Sharepoint document management system. The system now operates with only two print drivers, replacing hundreds previously. This single change alone saved an enormous amount of time, as people can now work more flexibly from office to office without requiring IT to install and support a new driver each time.

Jo Miklo, Head of Business Administration, stated,

I need to access the print system every day and the improvement has been dramatic. Small changes like the visibility of print queues and individual PIN access make sure that documents don’t get lost and save you time when retrieving them. The easy scanning capabilities also allow us to respond more quickly to citizens’ requests.

Meanwhile, the citizens of Leeds are able to enjoy 65 newly-installed and easy-to-use multi-functional devicess in 23 public libraries, which have replaced the unreliable old machines. The comprehensive data drawn from PrintSmart contributes to fulfilling the green agenda within the council’s 2030 vision. With an estimated 1,007,318 kg of greenhouse gases and 18,139 trees saved in the first 12 months, Leeds is well on its way to becoming a lower carbon city. Security has also been enhanced across the system, crucial for teams handling extremely sensitive documents across the council.

A digital council

With Canon’s help, the council aims to continue to change behaviour and reduce its print volume by 5% year on year.

By using the system’s granular data reports, the team will target particular departments where they are seeing expensive printing behaviour and educate employees on ways to reduce paper and colour printing in the office. With accurate information visible right across the council sites, it means the teams can target other areas for improvements, efficiencies and generate further cost savings.

The success of PrintSmart at the council has built a platform for more innovative solutions in the future. It has been recognised internally as an exemplar of how major corporate projects should be implemented. Helena Phillips says:

PrintSmart has taken the pain out of printing for us and turned it into an essential tool for working in the digital age. By rethinking the way that we work, Canon has helped us to better serve the citizens of Leeds.

Further information

If you would like to find out more about any of the CCS managed print solutions and how we can support you please get in touch:

Visit the RM3781 agreement webpage – RM1599 has now been replaced by our 7-lot agreement RM3781