PwC with Walsall Metropolitan Borough Council

PwC with Walsall Metropolitan Borough Council

Change and Transformation in the Public Sector

MCA Awards Finalist 2024Walsall’s population was growing and ageing, with high levels of deprivation and changing service expectations. Walsall Council needed to support the increasing demand for its services against a backdrop of national and global uncertainty. Service delivery was below that of its local government peers, and it had to save nearly £60m-£80m – more than 10% of its annual gross budget.

The council knew it had to transform how it delivered its services, and made three ‘Proud Promises’, to improve customer experience, employee engagement, and efficiency. However, recruitment and retention issues meant its capability was limited and its capacity was already stretched. PwC was therefore engaged as a strategic partner, to help it honour its three promises by establishing customer-focused and digitally-enabled ways of working.

PwC’s core concept was to bring about a fundamental change in how the council used technology, which was realised by designing and implementing a more effective operating model. The model established a way of exploiting technology to deliver better customer experiences and staff engagement, while also creating large financial savings.

The programme focused on the council’s front-line Administration, Business Intelligence, Commercial & Procurement, and Adult Social Care functions, and its back-office Enabling & Support Services. PwC worked in seven workstreams, ranging from culture and behavioural change through to income generation and enabling technology, to ensure that the organisational and technology transformations worked as one.

Over the programme’s five-year lifetime, PwC drew on a breadth of expertise that included operations, performance, technology and data. The firm’s people worked alongside the council in its offices, making it easier to develop a ‘one team’ mindset and share knowledge. Co-location also built strong relationships that made it possible to challenge the status quo and identify new, ‘product-led’ opportunities for simplification and standardisation.

Walsall Council needed to sustain the benefits being delivered, so PwC invested time in developing its leadership capabilities, through activities such as shared Lunch & Learn sessions and a structured coaching programme to improve performance, while developing an in-house team to continue coaching internally. The firm established programme governance, facilitated knowledge transfer to third-party suppliers, and supported a smooth handover of the Programme Management Office. By the end of the programme, the client had become self-sufficient, and was equipped to manage, track and sustain the improvements being achieved.

In PwC’s role as a strategic partner, the firm not only helped its client to achieve specific objectives, but also supported it through unexpected challenges. Notably, some elements of the programme that had been contracted out to third-party suppliers went awry. Nonetheless, PwC remained the council’s trusted partner, so was on hand to step in and bring the contracts back on course and ensure that the overall programme succeeded.

As a result, the council is now delivering on all its Proud Promises. It has achieved its ambitious cost savings, and is delivering significantly better experiences and efficiency for the people of Walsall.

View the PwC profile in the MCA Members Directory.