‘Think ahead’ is our five-year business strategy. It challenges us to reduce our operating costs further while transforming the customer experience; to build our business-to-business operation; and to continue to meet our core operating framework which seeks to balance the needs of our customers, taxpayers and the stability of the broader financial services sector.
Meet NS&I’s core remit
Our core remit remains the same: to help reduce the cost to the taxpayer of government borrowing, now and in the future.
To achieve the overall savings in line with the government’s Spending Review and to ensure we are able to meet future efficiency targets, we need to reduce the cost of managing customer interactions. Like almost every organisation, we recognise that the key to doing this is by handling a growing proportion of interactions via digital channels. We aim to shift our retail channels to digital (i.e. non-paper direct channels) to at least 75% by 2018-19.
However, rather than compelling customers to use these channels we want to make it more attractive for customers to manage their NS&I holdings through digital channels. This means reviewing our products and in particular the digital environment.
Deliver an appealing retail digital customer experience
This is strongly related to the previous objective but focuses more specifically on the customer experience. We will use enhanced functionality to offer an increasingly personalised experience giving customers more choice about which digital channels they use for different types of interaction. We will work closely with our customers to develop services to meet their needs.
Deliver a retail product portfolio which meets the needs of target customers
We will continue to review our product portfolio as a whole, developing new propositions where appropriate. As the 1-year 65+ Bonds reached maturity, customers were offered the option of reinvesting in our standard Guaranteed Growth Bonds. We also introduced the option for parents and legal guardians to purchase Premium Bonds online on behalf of their children. We want to give our customers even greater visibility of their NS&I holdings and allow them to manage their holdings across different NS&I products in a more flexible way.
Move progressively towards a self-funding model
We were delighted when, on 1 July 2015, the Supreme Court ruled that government plans to use NS&I in partnership with HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) to deliver its Tax-Free Childcare scheme were lawful. In partnership with HMRC, the Government is also using our service to deliver the Department for Education policy, to increase the amount of free childcare available to working parents.
Provide good careers and work/life balance
To deliver the objectives above, it is essential that we can attract and retain high-quality staff. We have therefore made developing our employee proposition a high-level strategic objective. The changing nature of our business, and in particular the growth of our business-to-business operations, is generating exciting career opportunities for our people. This year, we have introduced some new policies which are helping to deliver a better work/life balance. These include increased support for wellbeing at work, and the option of work contracted hours in nine days each fortnight rather than 10 – effectively giving people an extra day off each fortnight in exchange for working longer hours on the other days.