We've reduced how much we spend on printing and posting documents.

In 2021/22, we printed 1.3 million pages and sent out 194,000 letters. This cost us around £129,000 which is about 1% of the net cost of delivering our services.

Our research looked at why we were printing and posting so many documents and how we reduce how much we spend on this activity. 

We found opportunities to reduce our spend by:

  • Changing staff behaviours and making small changes to processes to reduce print and post costs by 10%
  • Sending garden waste collection subscriptions renewal notifications by email instead of by post
  • Encouraging more customers to receive their council tax bill by email instead of by post

Staff behaviour and process change

To achieve our goal we:

  • Spoke at our all staff meetings about the importance of printing and posting less
  • Ran workshops with services responsible for the majority of printing and posting
  • Reduced the number of office printers by half

By the end of the year, we achieved:

  • A 33% reduction in printing costs 
  • An 8% reduction in postage costs
  • More than £10,000 in cost savings overall

Garden waste collection subscription renewal notifications

Each year, we were sending over 10,000 letters to customers inviting them to renew their garden waste collection subscription.

During 2023, we collected customer email addresses when they renewed their subscription. From March 2024, we changed the renewal notifications from letters to email where we held an email address for the customer. 

Now, 85% of our renewal notifications are now sent by email, which should save us £4,000 each year. 

Council tax bills by email

Customers have been able to sign up to receive their council tax bills by email for a couple of years. But only 5% had chosen this option. We think this is because it is not straightforward to sign up for an online council tax account and then opt into receiving emails. 

To make this easier, we are developing a new digital service for customers to sign up to receive council tax bills by email. This won't require customers to create an account first. 

We are aiming to launch this new service through a communications campaign for customers. This will also include a targeted email campaign to customers using our council tax, open electoral register and garden waste subscription databases.

We're also going to make it the default option when moving into Rushmoor. 

Together, this could achieve up to £30,000 cost saving from annual and in-year bills. 

Future opportunities

We will continue to encourage staff and teams to review what they are printing and posting, and whether there are reasonable alternatives.

We hope in the future that there may be an opportunity to further reduce the number of office printers.

We may also look to design a digital alternative to replace neighbour notices and community involvement letters for planning applications. 

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