The Better Buckinghamshire Programme is the council’s post unitisation service improvement programme. By reviewing and redesigning the majority of the council’s services between 2021-23, the programme will help make sure Buckinghamshire is a better place to live, raise a family and do business.
Amongst others, objectives for the programme were to develop the right skills and culture among the council’s people and leaders, to enable services to be delivered in a learning environment, focused on outcomes for residents. The council was also keen to embed best practice business models that manage demand, meet needs and help to deliver £18m savings by 2023/24.
Working in a multidisciplinary team, we focused on six areas to help the council meet these objectives:
- developing a human-centred service review approach that’s consistent whilst accommodating different service priorities
- supporting service improvement business partners through service design and consultancy support
- financial modelling support to inform the Housing and Deputy Chief Executive’s (DCE) directorate’s service business cases
- developing a set of common zero-based budgeting principles to be applied through the service reviews
- transferring knowledge and best practice through Community of Practice sessions and 1:1 coaching support
- programme management including running agile rhythms and rituals and managing programme risks and issues
Developing an approach to service reviews
Some services were looking to make less significant changes than others. Lesser changes were focused on aligning existing team structures and ways of working, whereas more complex changes were around redefining end-to-end resident experiences and delivery models.
To meet these different needs, we worked closely with Buckinghamshire Council colleagues to develop a human-centred service review approach iteratively. Initially, we took a two-pronged approach distinguishing between ‘realign’ reviews, focused on structural change, and ‘reimagine’ reviews, focused on full-service transformation. Having supported waves 1 and 2 of reviews and currently preparing to support wave 3, we’ve revised our approach based on learnings from previous reviews.
Recognising that all future reviews will be primarily structural but also consider the future vision and high level operating model of the service, we’ve co-developed a single approach that blends aspects of the ‘realign’ and ‘reimagine’ reviews - with staff engagement and co-design with services at the centre. Going forward, all reviews will broadly follow the same journey (accommodating specific service needs as relevant):
- pre-initiation: understanding the specific service context and challenges to inform the service review priorities and resourcing
- initiation: establishing a clear review scope
- discover, design & test: understanding the current state, design constraints and art of possible and developing future service or parts of the service
- plan: for implementation
- deploy: to make the change real and sustainable