Basildon District Council

The challenge

Basildon was seeking to create a Joint Venture (JV) with Colchester Borough Council to combine customer services and IT and then offer services to other councils and public sector bodies in the region.

The councils are situated at either end of Essex and represent two significant sized councils that would represent an ideal pair of hubs to serve other councils in the area. There was significant commercial logic in a coming together. The councils had, however made IT decisions that had set them on a different course. Both also had transformation programmes in place that would need to be factored into any arrangement.

The challenge was to find a way through the practical and commercial aspects of creating a JV.

The result

We undertook a series of workshops with a wide range of stakeholders to establish a starting position, a target outcome and the key barriers to overcome in creating a shared commercial operation.

We also undertook a commercial review to forecast the likely demand and commercial opportunity for the JV. This looked at the market, the commercial proposition and the likelihood that the shared service would provide an attractive alternative for other councils (or other public sector bodies).

Our engagement established the basis for the commercial integration of the services, which was then progressed up to the point where a political decision to join needed to be made.

What made it successful

  • Commercial expertise – We engaged with both councils to forecast the future demand and likely take up of services provided by the JV. We also proposed a commercial strategy and plan to build the JV and to unlock the market opportunity
  • Engagement – We created an innovative and supportive environment for the two councils to come together to explore potential options and be honest about potential barriers
  • Bold vision – We developed a bold vision of how the two councils could operate the JV together – embracing the opportunity presented by joining forces and the practical implications for IT investments and harmonisation of approaches to delivery of services
  • Developing capability – We were able to take the proposition to the point where internal resources could take the outline proposals forward into detailed planning. In doing this we had helped create a very strong and trusting working relationship that underpinned the development of the commercial opportunity.