Taunton Deane Borough Council and West Somerset Council

The challenge

Taunton Deane and West Somerset already shared services, which were not fully integrated, and had a joint senior structure. The two teams had retained multiple political stakeholders, different physical infrastructures and identities – resulting in major cultural differences and ways of working. There was an urgent need to reduce the cost base whilst improving services and transforming an ageing infrastructure.

The two councils agreed, and obtained government approval, to become a single political entity. This would require a complex and comprehensive merger and transformation embracing organisation, technology, processes and customer journeys, culture, and ways of working.

The result

We developed a business case, detailed blueprint and implementation plan for a new single council operating model with; a new and integrated organisation structure and roles; a radical transformation of technology; a highly customer-focused and consistent culture; a new approach to demand management and customer access; new governance and performance management with a golden thread joining strategic impact and outcomes with service plans; and a benefits realisation forecast to support investment.

New activities were added to enhance the role of locality teams; giving a fresh focus on community projects and on improving the quality of life and the environment.

Despite a substantial increase in expected one-off redundancy costs, the council remains on track to deliver the financial benefits identified in the business case, saving them >£3m/year, contributing to plans for the healthy and sustainable financial position of the new council.

What made it successful

  • Building capability – We developed capability by engaging staff and immersing them in the new model. We developed senior team capability to define the vision and support transformation. We are building and supporting internal change and delivery teams as we support the implementation
  • Integrated design – Our business case and blueprint defined new integrated arrangements for: strategy and commissioning; organisational structure, roles and management; processes and customer journeys; technology map and migration; culture and ways of working
  • Focus on results – We developed the strategy and plans needed to respond to future financial reductions. We underpinned the business case with a sophisticated activity and a financial model enabling us to forecast the scale of financial benefit delivery through phases of implementation.
  • Ambition – We developed an organisational strategy by connecting the councils’ vision and ambition with the new operating and organisational model. This included the design of a new approach to strategy development, commissioning and delivery; commercialism and income generation; and local area working.