Wokingham Borough Council – commercialisation and delivery models

The challenge

As part of a wider transformation programme, Wokingham was looking at all of its delivery models, including a shared service arrangement for Legal services with The Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead.

The shared service was reviewed as part of the transformation and it was found that there were opportunities for significant improvements. However, these could not be implemented in isolation of a review of the overall delivery model for the shared service.

The goal for the shared service function was to increase service levels and reduce external legal expenditure – with a view to maximising skills in the existing team and understanding the right balance of internally and externally delivered legal services. The business model adopted would need to respond to this balance; there would also need to be a plan to get there.

The result

As part of the review Ignite worked with the shared service to look at the value proposition of the service and the outcomes the team is genuinely trying to achieve.

Six delivery model options were identified, ranging from unravelling the arrangement to fully floating the service off as an arms-length commercial entity. These were assessed by a group of key stakeholders against an assessment framework agreed by the wider shared services team, allowing four options to be discounted.

A delivery plan was put in place to assess the implications of the remaining two options. These were put through a rigorous evaluation process that involved more detailed financial appraisal and implementation planning (timeframes, logistics, costs, resources, risks, assumptions). The recommendation was to focus on delivery rather than commercial independence; address internal delivery issues, create more capacity to do high value work internally and grow the shared service.

What made it successful

  • Robust approach – The approach to development and evaluation of the options engaged the team. There was an aligned view of target outcomes and what success really means.
  • Commercial awareness – Undertaking competitor analysis to ensure the practical realities of the market were understood and factored into options
  • Customer engagement – Working closely with customers of the service to ensure we understood the underlying performance issues and intended outcomes before rushing to structural solutions
  • Strategy expertise – Providing expert strategy and commercial input to help develop the options