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Intelligent Decommissioning


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An introduction to the principles of Intelligent Decommissioning, developed in February 2010

An introduction to the principles of Intelligent Decommissioning, developed in February 2010

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  • intelligent decommissioning is a new approach to what we feel is one of the biggest challenges being faced by the sector intelligent decommissioning is an approach which has been developed by private public and communications consultancy DTW born of our experience of the public sector based on direct experience of having worked across a number of organisations in both frontline services and change programmes genesis of this came out of Health and our relationship with Paul Corrigan, who was at Islington before becoming Special Advisor at the Department of Health to Alan Milburn and John Reid from 2001; brought in Foundation Hospitals based on the Swedish / Spanish models; is currently working with the boards of PCTs and Councils across London Paul had been working on World Class Commissioning and identified the need for better approaches to decommissioning if benefits around this were to be realised We were working with a number of Health and Local Government clients who were facing similar financial challenges
  • Cash reductions potentially in excess of 20% to existing budgets Order of magnitude different to efficiency savings in the previous decade Even in ring-fenced areas such as health, no increase is an effective cut Demographic changes and increasing public expectations of services, including new treatments in health and better customer services in local government, are driving the other side of the equation
  • there is scope to drive efficiencies through automation and simplification of processes, improved contract management and productivity the days of the big capital programmes are over the organisations we are working with are telling us that they need to explore other options targeted interventions which release immediate savings without simply salami-slicing existing services
  • we’ve all seen the issues which can ensue from poorly managed service closures we appreciate that this is not a purely rational process – that both staff and customers of organisations can be very attached to existing ways of working and / or resistant to change
  • this is about matching up customer expectations and financial realities
  • there are three areas we are looking at in the context of intelligent decommissioning firstly understanding what customers actually need, how this need can be met differently, and engaging people in the need for change
  • the second, and just as important, is understanding how existing operations are affected, what the implications are, and how where appropriate these can be decommissioned in a controlled way this is one of the differentiators from other recent approaches to service redesign, which tend to focus on solely on the new without thinking about what’s going to happen to the old
  • thirdly recognising that this not necessarily about building lots of new capabilities but equally about communicating alternatives
  • this is the process you could divide this up any number of ways based on experience we have grouped this into four distinct stages, allowing for clear decision-points in between
  • the first is around capturing the starting point this is key for both evidencing and communicating the need for change it is also key for being able to effectively capture and evidence benefits includes identifying the key stakeholders
  • develop includes finalising the business case, communications plan, benefits realisation plan the act of developing these things also encompasses beginning to roll them out fundamentally this is about understanding the detail of the change, engaging people, validating approaches and being ready to move to the next stage
  • local authorities and increasingly PCTs have a great deal of experience around commissioning new services this is about seeing commissioning and decommissioning as two sides of the same coin depending on the nature of the changes, this part of the process may involve procurement, HR, legal, finance and other specialisms it may involve just one organisation or many, for example where other providers will be dealing with future customers needs the key is maintaining co-ordination and engagement, and ensuring that as new arrangements are rolled out old ones are genuinely being decommissioned in parallel
  • in both private and public sector this is generally not the strongest area bottom line is that savings are cashed and that customer impacts have been demonstrably managed
  • there are four key areas of support required to make this happen
  • Client Westmorland General HospitalCost / Resources £12,000 approx Duration 2 months approxKey Stakeholders Corporate Affairs Director Ross Forbes and Head of Communications Mark GrahamScope Reduce acute services in Westmorland District Hospital, including the closure of the coronary care unit. Step up, step down unit to be introduced in Kendal, additional teams introduced and a new cancer care unit opened.AffectedServices Acute care, coronary services, nursing servicesWhat Was Decommissioned Traditional provision of acute care and coronary services.Brief Description of Changes Customers were incensed at the prospect of the changes and campaigning on a ‘Save our NHS’ banner. DTW engaged and managed the communications programme including stakeholder engagement aimed at local politicians, aligning with their agendas, as well as local media engagement. Key was to rebut inaccurate information and to get the internal briefings right to convert staff to advocates. Key Challenges Managing public opinion and managing the politicians Key Lessons Learnt Importance of linking the outcomes to the agendas of the political leadership and maintaining robust communications with all key stakeholders 
  • Client City of York CouncilCost / Resources £15,000 approxDuration 2 months approxKey Stakeholders Head of Comms Matt Beer and Project Director Maria WoodScope New Civic CentreAffectedServices All council accommodationWhat Was Decommissioned 16 office buildings and customer reception centresBrief Description of Changes The buildings were old, expensive and not fit-for-purposeA site and design had been selected which were subject to public consultation but which had failed to convince the public of the benefitsStaff, public and local media were re-engaged around presenting options for the futureA clear preference was established across stakeholders The development work is now underway with a clear plan for decommissioning existing sites alongside this Key Challenges Public acceptance of councils spending money on their own accommodation (even if this leads to operational savings). Loss of local presence, affecting both local communities and the ward members who represent them. Impact on new sites of relocating large numbers of council staff there. Key Lessons Learnt Need to involve communications from the start, to be clear around identifying stakeholders and if you are going to consult, to present credible options and not simply to post-rationalise existing decisions.
  • Client London Borough of LambethCost / Resources Dedicated team of 5 Duration 12 monthsKey Stakeholders Chief Exec Derrick Anderson, Executive Directors, MembersScope Implementation of the new customer service strategyAffectedServices Housing, Housing Benefits, Parking, Customer ServicesWhat Was Decommissioned Parking Shops, Housing Benefits Front Office, Area Housing Office, Traditional CashiersBrief Description of Changes A number of existing services operating to different models in different locations serving overlapping but distinct customer groupsWidespread customer dissatisfaction and high cost of service delivery but strong familiarity with existing setupsConcerns around mixing the different customer groups, and the ability to handle volumes with a much leaner integrated front officeA history of initiatives that failed to meet either stated objectives or financial targetsCreated new structure, worked in parallel with HR to implement new organisation and Finance to capture the costs and savingsLinked to the accommodation strategy to ensure disposal of buildings Key Challenges Securing a mandate for change, understanding customer needs, capturing savings, overcoming silos, making staff feel part of a new improved environment Key Lessons Learnt An evidence base to guide the design of new services and support the need for change, effective political and managerial engagement, and joint working across different council functions to a shared business case
  • We are looking for local government sites as strategic leaders All local authorities will be going through similar processes, but we believe there is a degree of time dependency around this We are operating through a pre-negotiated national framework to support change in public sector organisations We are interested in discounting further in order to demonstrate the benefits and the approach So an initial Define phase might be around 4 to 6 weeks and £8k to £10k to establish the model and the baseline for intelligently decommissioning within a service area Does the issues and the approach chime with your experience? And if there was one area within your organisation you would want to start with, where would it be?
  • Transcript

    • 1. intelligent
      private public ltd & DTW
      february 2010
    • 2. there exists a growing imbalance between
      public service resources and public demand
    • 3. improving efficiency alone is no longer sufficient to balance supply and demand
    • 4. traditional approaches to stopping services bring significant numbers of risks
    • 5. delivering services that meet
      customer and financial demands
    • 6. intelligent decommissioning means implementing new approaches
      to meeting customer need
    • 7. traditional approaches to stopping
      services bring significant numbers of risks
      conducting a controlled shutdown of existing operations
    • 8. re-commissioning
      new approaches
    • 9. unlocking
      intelligent decommissioning
    • 10. Define
      new approaches
      an agreed baseline
      of cost, performance
      and opportunities
    • 11. Develop
      a clear pathway
      to meet future customer
      and organisational needs
    • 12. Decommission
      a managed transition from
      old arrangements to new
    • 13. Realise
      ensuring benefits are
      captured and the
      business case
    • 14. combining the right blend of skills and capabilities
    • 15. case study one
      closer to home
    • 16. case study two
      rationalising accommodation
    • 17. case study three
      transforming customer access
    • 18. Decommission
      Realise Benefits
    • 19. contacts
      simon morioka, claire kennedy
      managing directors, private public ltd
      peter whelan
      managing director, DTW