KPMG with Cumberland, Westmorland and Furness Councils

KPMG with Cumberland Council

Change and Transformation in the Public Sector

MCA Awards Finalist 2024We helped Cumbria take seven local government bodies, structured in a two-tiered system and transform them into two brand new unitary local authorities and a fire and rescue authority capable of providing modern-day governance. We did it all in about a year.

The complexity of the challenge was massive. The existing government bodies provided more than 700 different services to nearly 500,000 people across England’s second largest county area. It was a hugely complex programme with an immoveable ‘Day 1’ deadline. There was no room for error and no leeway for service interruption.

That’s why Cumbria’s leaders chose to work with KPMG in the UK. The KPMG team brought deep experience gained from helping other local governments across England to reorganise and transform. We could draw on a deep bench strength of extensive multi-disciplinary capabilities. We appointed senior leaders who could serve as objective and independent ‘critical friends’ to decision-makers. We demonstrated that we understood local government and had valuable insight on Cumbria’s unique challenges and opportunities.

Working as a blended team with the client’s dedicated local government reorganisation resources, we identified 212 requirements that needed to be in place by Day 1. That included everything from setting up new policies and IT systems through to briefing politicians and ensuring the new executives were properly established. We focused on seven key areas – people, places, corporate systems, ICT, customer, finance and fire. We identified nearly 1,300 Level 1, 2 and 3 milestones we would need to monitor and measure throughout the programme. There were massive interdependencies.

At the same time, we had to disaggregate and rebuild more than 700 different services – some of them statutory or critical – within two separate entities. Sometimes that meant bringing duplicative services together. Other times, it meant splitting apart services that had previously been delivered centrally by Cumbria Council. It was complex stuff, often requiring deep capabilities in areas such as HR, assets and estates, systems integration and policy development.

While Cumbria looked to KPMG to help them with capacity, technical support and project management capabilities to get the project over the line in time, their Senior Responsible Owners (SROs) also wanted a ‘critical friend’ who could challenge them when needed, provide independent perspectives where required and deliver expert insight and advice based on experience and deep capabilities. And we delivered exactly that.

Ultimately, we helped Cumbria disaggregate seven different government bodies and reassemble them into two new unitary authorities and one fire authority that is fit and ready to provide modern governance.

We performed excellently under the tight timelines. We delivered all of the 212 requirements by the 1 April 2023 deadline. In doing so, we allowed the two new unitary governments and their Chief Executives to stand up modern governance bodies with integrated services in a way that is not only legal and safe, but also more efficient and effective for the councils and the people they serve.

View the KPMG profile in the MCA Members Directory.