Managing change in the public sector

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Posted by APM on 3rd Mar 2011

The East of England branch was treated to an excellent talk recently on Managing Change in the Public Sector by Paul Tonks of V4 Services, the trusted and proven Transformation Partner for Peterborough City Council.

They started the process back in 2006 by identifying all business-as-usual and change projects some 500 of them - and then systematically analysed them against the Councils objectives and business drivers. They winnowed the list down to just 270 priority projects, each with a required return on investment [ROI] of at least 3:1 [and now 5:1], and then this portfolio of key projects was tracked regularly.

They also took the radical step of ensuring that the planned benefits would be cashable and focusing project sponsors minds! by taking the cash value of each projects benefits out of relevant operating budgets early in each project! In this way, they are now  saving over 30m a year.

Some of the projects were business process improvement, some were outsourcing, some growth projects for the future, and the Council has won several national awards for its work in this area and associated projects including: procurement, waste management and revenue generation.

The main focus of the work was on people and process and on clear objectives, delivery milestones, monthly highlight reporting from all projects, benefits realisation and layered governance structures, and less on technology.  They also used a gateway process to control the investment in projects and for this year have structured their portfolio into six major programmes of work.

They set up a small programme management office and even created a bespoke web-based real-time software tool called Verto (which is now being used by another 40 councils and public sector bodies) to track and report on the transformation portfolio of projects to the many stakeholders.

Paul concluded that the main success factors for the transformation programme were strong leadership, a real political imperative for change, clear objectives, a good governance structure and a robust benefits realisation methodology.

The East of England branch wish the Council and V4 Services, and the Verto developers (TMS Systems), every success with the remainder of this transformation programme, which is a real exemplar for the rest of the public sector.

To download Paul's presentation - please see below.

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