North Highland with the Financial Conduct Authority

Data and Innovation in Public Sector

North Highland partnered with the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) to deliver a complex data platform transformation. This programme represented an important part of the Authority’s future data strategy. The new platform is easier to support, more usable for the >130k public users, and is more adaptive to changing demands and regulation stimuli.

Challenges arising from new working practices and delivery approaches, combined with disruption caused by COVID-19 prompted the FCA to seek a partner to help them stabilise this programme in face of extreme adversity, and deliver not only successful releases but also to effect penetrating and lasting culture change to guarantee that the advantages of this new platform continued to be recognised long after the end of the programme delivery and into Business as usual.

The FCA selected North Highland after demonstrating how they blended programme delivery excellence and a ‘people first’ mentality that focuses on outcomes, not isolated tasks. The FCA and North Highland were united in believing that successful delivery was as much about the ‘how’ as about the ‘what’.

North Highland deployed 5 keystone roles into the programme, focussed on Programme and Product leadership. The team executed a remediation approach, addressing behaviours, skills, and leadership across the programme, whilst taking accountability of Programme and Product Management. North Highland centred their interventions on collaboration and cooperation, bringing teams together to solve problems rather than operating in siloes. The team addressed leadership behaviours, empowering the right people to make informed decisions.

The team put in place a coaching and upskilling approach across 6 key levers of Leadership, Product, Ways of Working, Measurement & Transparency, Planning and importantly, Culture. This built a whole-programme mentality and culture, celebrating successes, building connections, and lifting everyone up regardless of their role. Regular retrospectives and reviews gave space for innovation and created transparency so problems could rise to the surface and be resolved. A clear focus on successes and showcasing the fast-paced improvements changed habits and attitudes where everyone was empowered to act.

Working together, the barriers to an achievable delivery roadmap were removed and a robust way ahead built on facts was born. The programme went on to successfully complete all these deployments in line with this plan. But not only this, the North Highland team partnered seamlessly with the other delivery partners to achieve a doubling of code quality release to release which was delivered up to 3x faster, whilst complexity and size also continued to grow. The net saving to the programme of this increase in quality, speed and collaboration is valued at more than £1.8m in saved Data Centre costs alone.

View the North Highland profile in the MCA Members Directory.