Supporting Buckinghamshire’s transition to a single unitary authority
Providing insight and governance of the change programme
We recently supported Buckinghamshire County Council’s transition to a single unitary authority, making sure they were able to maintain their service delivery for residents.
The council delivered the programme through their internal team, but recognised the need for support and insight to improve their approach and overall governance of the change programme.
We started with a review of the programme’s initial set up and plan revealed areas for improvement. This led to us taking the lead on several crucial projects within the programme that included reviewing the approach to Fees and Charging, rebranding for the new council, the ICT workstream including access control and the internal intranet.
We coached the council’s internal team to enhance their approach, sharing our extensive experience in delivering complex projects and supporting other unitary programmes. Our advisory role also included helping the programme director target areas we felt were cause for concern, working together to decide upon the best solution quickly.
Our strong relationship with the team helped make this project a success. Following their work with Dorset and their LGR programme, they supported us to frame and structure our approach to our unitary transition. Their workshops, support and engagement provided a critical challenge that strengthened our project.
To make sure activity was prioritised to meet core deliverables and milestones, we supported the internal team to review their milestones and dependencies to keep the workload manageable.
As a supportive tool, we developed a “real time” programme assessment model to show the impact of the slippage versus the reality of the delivery, broken down to align the governance structure of the programme. We also ran “go-live” readiness assessments to identify any operational challenges which may exist on Day one, creating areas of focus for the team.
The team provided hands-on insight and, by augmenting our existing teams, they helped build the skill sets of our programme office team. Many of our team benefitted from the coaching that they provided.
This support was crucial in helping us make sure we delivered this programme successfully while maintaining services for our residents
With the Council’s PMO lead, we helped oversee a successful vesting date as all other resources were deferred onto COVID-19 response. We then worked with the service directors to review these outstanding deliverables and make sure they were handed over into BAU.
The team were great at maintaining communication throughout and ensured we understood what was happening. Their recent experience was invaluable to giving us the confidence we needed. They tailored their approach to our circumstances and this flexibility was a great help to working collaboratively
There were concerns within the councils about delivering this transition but the pragmatic approach, combining genuine empathy with experience helped us to navigate a challenging period
Despite the enormity of the change, the new council successfully went live during COVID-19 with no impact on the services residents received. The new council can now continue on its journey to deliver outstanding services to its residents consistently across the County footprint of Buckinghamshire.
When thinking about LGR, councils need to be clear what they want their consultancy support to deliver. We knew that we wanted experienced assistance to help guide us through our unique circumstances and the team were able to provide that. Their approach to understanding client needs and tailoring their support was crucial to meeting our goals. We enjoyed a positive, mature relationship with them, working together as partners in a collaborative manner.