Administration review and restructure 2020-2021
As part of the LGA Productivity Experts team, we were commissioned to complete a review of a Borough Council’s Admin Services, the first in a series of reviews which was designed to help to shape the future of the working operations of the Council. We used a variety of quantitative and qualitative methods to understand:
1) The council’s current administrative and support resource and its capability, capacity, and cost.
2) The council’s medium term (now to 3 years) administrative needs.
3) Options for a structure to meet these needs.
4) A summary of areas and processes seen during the project which could deliver efficiencies either after further review or by implementing suggested changes.
The challenges we identified
The main challenges identified by our review include: poor overall awareness of what the admin teams can offer to support Divisions, limited opportunities to date to consider new or better ways of working, legacy issues around job descriptions and pay grades which prevent staff from working outside of role, an ageing workforce profile with little succession planning, less resilience being achieved than required, separation from the admin team results in management doing own admin, a resource heavy post process, inefficiencies in the print room operation, and more requirement for team supervision.
The review considered the council’s Corporate Plan for 2019/20 and its 6 priorities whilst undertaking the review and considering the best options. This demonstrates our ability to meet the objectives of the council, contribute to the council’s action plans already in place, and align our work to a Council Business Strategy, Council policy, Council action plans and other similar documentation as part of the wider piece of work.
Engagement with key stakeholders. We engaged with a number of individuals and groups including staff affected, staff not affected, the recognised Union, Senior leadership. We used a variety of engagement methods including surveys, emails, face to face meetings and telephone interviews. We also spent time in the different environments to understand the flow, environment and to take another perspective.
Provided tailored 121 support to different departments. We spent time with the wider council teams and external organisations who use them and work with them to put together recommendations for how they could work more efficiently aside from the review. By working with these teams, we were able to offer additional opportunities to improvements and effectiveness that was not dependant on the outcome of the review.
Development of action plans. The outcome of the review included a number of action plans, for both implantation of the recommendations and specific to different departments. All action plans were designed to be self-fulfilling and not to require any additional resource or cost to the Council.
Communication and promotion. Throughout the project we developed ongoing communications to be used to keep all stakeholders engaged and then to deliver the outcomes in a measured way at the end. We highlighted the key benefits of the outcomes to enable the Council to be able to promote this as a successful project, despite some staff being made redundant and others being relocated.
Presentation to the Council. As part of the project, we had to present the report to the Senior Leadership Team at a Board meeting. This enabled explanation and Q&A time, as well as further discussion on the options.
The review identified a number of areas for efficiencies relating directly to the administration teams and also to other parts of the Council. These related to better use of technology and Office 365, relocation of all staff into one building, better use of online intranet services, efficiencies in licensing, land charges and policy support, an opportunity to use higher graded staff differently to support the corporate plan, a potential income stream, and a lead into a review of estates and facilities. The outcome of the review over the 12 months lead to the implementation of a complete decentralisation of the team, annual ongoing savings of £70k per annum, and improved resource for a number of teams.
If you would like any further information on this or any other project, please get in touch.