Change and Transformation of service


Wednesday, October 15th 2014
Author: Peter Glynne, Head of Transformation

Ahead of the Solace 2014 Summit, Peter Glynne, Head of Change and Transformation at Westminster City Council offers his five tips to support the shift to new ways of working.

Ahead of the Solace 2014 Summit, Peter Glynne, Head of Change and Transformation at Westminster City Council offers his five tips to support the shift to new ways of working.


Over the last four years, Local Government has been radically transforming its services bringing about beneficial change whilst also achieving significant cost reduction. This way of working has become the norm for most Councils. In the near-term, new resource pressures are emerging from 2015/16 which will require a more radical approach to designing and implementing change going forward. Over the next three to five years, Local Government will fundamentally redefine its role across the UK with radical new structures, cross organisation partnerships and new ways of working.

This is only the start of a journey and it is clear that legacy ways of working will no longer meet the challenge of the new emerging change agenda across Local Government.

The following five tips support the shift to new ways of working:

1. Take a clear view of change across the organisation – fully understand the landscape

Build, agree and maintain a clear view of what change is taking place across the Council and when. This is essential for the senior team to understand risk, interdependencies and benefits realisation. This is often perceived as too challenging and complex however it is critical to successfully aligning the change and cost reduction agenda.

2. Focus on talent and organisational capability – the right skills at the right time

It is essential to have a core capability in delivering change across the organisation supplemented by specialist external resource, as and when appropriate. Whilst few will disagree with this principle, it is often the Achilles heel of organisations when delivering change. The wrong capability will increase risk, push up costs and place the organisation’s reputation at risk.

3. Develop a clear business case - explore all of options and drive innovation

A robust business case should not only define the investment and quantify the benefits, it should outline how the change will be designed, delivered, governed and how the benefits will be realised. It should shape new ways of thinking and new models of working to achieve the change agenda across Local Government. Invest in expert capability as the saying ‘a stitch in time saves nine’ can be very appropriate.

4. Focus on capacity for delivering and embedding change – new models of partnership

The right resourcing model is critical recognising that most councils have experienced large staff reductions in recent years. In addition recruitment freezes have made resourcing more challenging. Design the right model where internal capacity is supplemented by external partnership that provides value for money and maximises knowledge transfer.

5. Benefits Realisation – incentivise joint working across the organisation

Benefits are the primary reason for delivering change and Local Government has learnt much from cost reduction in recent years. Using these lessons learned, finance and change teams must now accelerate working joint working to ensure that the challenge ahead is addressed. This joint working needs to be incentivised through performance management and reward strategies.