After months of hard work, and using the SSA skills and knowledge toolkits, the business case has been signed off and you have the green light to set up your shared service. But how do you balance making reality, with the need for a full service design?
Havering and Newham councils faced this challenge in setting up their shared service, oneSource. We had four months to get oneSource live, so we could achieve our full first year’s savings. This meant that we needed to concentrate on bringing services together and rolling oneSource out, rather than trying to design the whole service in detail.
We decided to re-design individual services over the next two to three years through a programme of service reviews – the programme was determined by the practicalities of redesigning each service and by where we could achieve quick wins.
We have allowed flexibility in the detail of how each service is designed, recognising that things may have changed since we wrote the business case, whilst remaining totally focussed on our Target Operating Model.
The first steps…
We concentrated on four main things in setting up oneSource – a shared service with 21 different functions and 1350 people:
- Turning the model into reality
- Setting up the management structure
- Enabling joint working
- Starting to build the brand and culture.
We started to make the model a reality by revisiting the financial assumptions in the business case, agreeing budgets for the shared service and setting up accounts and budget monitoring systems.
Customer satisfaction will be paramount to our success, so a priority has been to set up Service Level Agreements with our customers and agree how we will monitor performance and manage customer relationships. This, along with reviewing individual services, will be the role of the new Business Services team.
It would have been impractical to restructure the entire service in just four months so we have concentrated on getting the senior management structure agreed and the management team appointed and working together. Most individual services have simply ‘lifted and shifted’ into oneSource for the time being, until they are redesigned.
There has been a huge amount of practical work to do to enable two different organisations, based several miles apart, to work together. This has included systems for sharing data and applications, enabling staff in each council to access the other’s networks and telephone systems, and introducing new oneSource mail addresses.
We saw it as very important to establish the oneSource brand and culture from the start, so that our staff started to feel that they were working for something new and different.
We agreed our vision and set of values and established a strong visual identity for oneSource. We made sure that staff were engaged with these by holding five staff briefings, producing oneSource induction guides and setting up a brand new intranet site.
In the table on the next page (view in the PDF of the article), I have set out how we managed the design challenges. You may find these helpful in your work. And on the final page I have set out the key learning points for ourselves, that you can also learn from.
We’re pleased with what we have achieved. oneSource is up and running, new systems are in place and staff are starting to feel part of the new organisation.
The next stage is to continue the redesign of individual services, ensure we are keeping our customers happy and start to develop the business and attract new customers.
The key learning points I would pass onto others from the oneSource experience are:
- Be realistic in what you are trying to achieve – focus on the important tasks, rather than designing the whole service first
- Follow a clear project management approach, allowing you to keep a close check on all aspects of the implementation and flagging up any delays or risks
- Think about all the scenarios in bringing together your services – this will help you plan for all eventualities
- Allow time to test that your solutions work – especially where IT is concerned
- Make sure you engage your staff and take them with you
- Think about the little details that are important to staff – if people can’t log into new systems on Day 1 they will soon lose confidence in your new service
- Recognise the You can contact Stephanie Sharp, Programme Manager, oneSource on T: 01708 433613 E: firstname.lastname@example.org
Please download the PDF of this article to view the ‘How are we tackling the design stage challenges?’ table.