We attended the Shared Service Architecture’s Collaborative Tansformation Practitioner Programme (CTPrac™) in 2015.
The skills development proved very timely as we both then moved straight into our first shared service project – bringing together the highways, transport and regulatory services within the London Borough of Sutton and the Royal Borough of Kingston Upon Thames.
This is the council’s first external customer facing shared service.
Creating Sutton’s bespoke shared services toolkit
During the start-up of the project, we were fortunate to have a wide range of tools and techniques from the SSA toolboxes at our fingertips.
For example, we used tool T&V4.01 for a workshop to create a shared vision. Once we moved onto the implementation stage of the project, we created our own bespoke templates for the various delivery workstreams.
We worked collaboratively with colleagues from human resources, legal, ICT, finance and communications to design templates and documents for each of these workstreams. This ensured we took account of expert knowledge and practical experience from each of these disciplines.
On completing the project, we decided to gather these documents together with templates from previous shared service projects to create our own bespoke toolkit for colleagues to use for similar projects in the future.
This toolkit has been promoted and explained to colleagues within the council, and is shared with them via our council Google Drive, ensuring that up to date versions are always available.
By creating a central repository for best practice, we are avoiding the need to reinvent the wheel and have ensured the tools are tailored to Sutton’s requirements and governance arrangements.
It also helps provide quality assurance and consistency to the delivery of shared service projects across the council.
It is important to note that our toolkit is not static, but rather an organic evolving resource. We encourage our colleagues to not only use it, but to suggest changes to existing tools or to add new tools which they have developed, or come across, in their own projects.
How has the toolkit been used?
The toolkit has been used for other shared service projects since, including the council’s shared human resources service and shared pensions administration service projects.
The tools are not just applicable for shared service projects but are suitable to be used and adapted for any projects where change, or collaboration, is required.
For example, it could continue to be used if we were to set up a jointly owned company structure with a neighbouring authority, from which to run shared services. This is currently being explored.
We therefore continue to publicise the toolkit to colleagues across the council.
Sutton has recently subscribed to the SSA Online Collaborative Working Toolkit, which provides over 200 tools, templates and techniques from the seven printed SSA toolkits.
We will use this to complement our own bespoke toolkit.
What difference has it made?
Our own bespoke shared services toolkit, together with the SSA Online Collaborative Working Toolkit has helped project managers to save time, avoid errors and costs, and build on good practice and use new ideas and techniques to deliver change projects.
As a result, the investment in the SSA tools and the development of our own has paid for itself many times over.
*Please download the PDF of the article to view the The LB Sutton Shared Service Toolkit diagram