Westminster City Council (WCC), City Highways (CH) Leadership Team faced a number of challenges, including ill-defined and poorly followed processes, untimely financial control and low management visibility of outputs. They also needed to identify a 25% reduction in the budget, address negative perceptions of the service and turnaround entrenched adverse team behaviours.
Through a series of project stages over 18 months, we worked collaboratively to address the failings around financial control processes. We built a compelling case for ambitious change, which was informed by a detailed analysis of current ways of working. We were then in a position to instigate significant operational, organisational and cultural change.
Our biggest challenge was the requirement to reduce staff. This was not driven solely, or principally by the need to reduce costs, but by the need to re-shape the team and reform the culture to improve performance. We were determined to do this with respect and to the advantage of as many staff as possible, through improved opportunities and new roles, using transparent and frank engagement:
“Every attempt was made to actively engage individuals with the process and undertake meaningful staff consultation. Employees were given the opportunity to seek clarity, support and ask any questions in relation to the proposals that were put forward” – HR Representative.
The project has delivered a step-change in performance, driven by a revitalised culture resulting in many tangible and intangible improvements, including:
- A new organisation structure delivering staff opportunity, extended service availability, improved programme performance and effective contract management
- £750k annualised savings
- A set of processes, presented in an engaging, non-technical format to support training, induction and process adherence
- A reusable service costing model, that Finance have employed in other transformation projects
- A workshop toolkit including materials and techniques
- Tighter financial control exemplified by a 95% reduction in year-end accruals
The project outcomes have been embraced and celebrated across the entire organisation not just within City Highways:
“Change is a difficult pill for organisations to swallow. The trick is to deliver that change and bring staff with you on the journey. This we did and the results are plain for all to see; with the highest satisfaction ratings and confidence in the service’s history, and five shortlisted nominations for the Council’s annual staff awards. I am incredibly proud of what we have achieved. The improvements in behaviour, culture and commitment to deliver the best outcomes has been phenomenal. A great team effort owned and supported by all” – Kevin Goad, Director City Highways.