Public Sector case studies
WCL has a strong track record of working with central government, its stakeholders and delivery partners on successful consultation, design and delivery of challenging national programmes. We have worked in MHCLG, Health, Home Office and DCMS in addition to our extensive experience of working at all levels across DfE. We have worked with almost every DfE policy team as well as a number of central service groups on a wide variety of key policy and delivery programmes.
Among many other Government assignments which involve core change and transformation management expertise, we’ve been involved in drawing up business plans and spending review responses, setting up corporate performance reporting arrangements, and undertaking detailed work and resource prioritisation exercises.
Programme and project management in the public sector
We are known for our expertise in programme and project management, in particular for ‘making it happen’. Our high engagement approach to programme design has supported the successful implementation of many of Government's most high priority initiatives and system reform challenges , for example the 21st Century School, City Challenge, and the Every Child Matters programmes.
We have a high degree of change management expertise and a deep understanding, gained over many years experience, of what works and what doesn’t when trying to apply standard methodologies such as Agile, PRINCE2, and MSP to public sector policy initiatives and central service change programmes. We therefore don’t come with a pre-packaged idea of what will work, preferring to pick and choose the elements from a variety of methods to suit a client’s individual circumstances. Nor do we believe change management should be separated from programme management – to our mind every programme involves change of some sort and the people aspects of it are very often ignored in the rush to put management and governance processes in place.
We have helped a number of organisations deliver a step change in performance. We worked with a central Government department to create a performance management system to monitor and manage the delivery of a major new policy programme. We put in place an accurate delivery trajectory that was used to manage performance against its key targets and to take steps to combat areas of underperformance.
The Cabinet Office described our work as “having done an outstanding job of being able to articulate this complex information."
Stakeholder management and communications experience
We have significant stakeholder management and communications experience and we frequently run masterclasses in stakeholder management. We have experience managing the design and delivery of stakeholder communications, including for one major programme reaching over 46,000 staff in over 1,000 institutions and turning round the attitudes of many external stakeholders. We’re frequently asked to run key high stakes communications events and we’ve developed numerous communications and stakeholder plans.
We have worked with many organisations on various aspects of Organisational Design using our best of breed in-house methods. We helped set up a new Government department Workforce Unit, working with the Director and his SMT on designing structures to enable them to meet the challenges of the workforce strategy. We worked with a Government agency on the organisation design processes and operating models to support process improvements and organisation change proposals during their relocation to Manchester. And we have worked with a central Government department to facilitate the transfer of arrangements to a new Executive Agency, involving the creation of a handover pack to support transitional arrangements between the central Department and the Agency and a series of organisation design workshops with the remaining Department' team to focus on their new roles and responsibilities.
We pride ourselves on our ability and track record for transferring skills and knowledge to our clients as a fundamental part of all our work and can point to many examples where we have successfully done so both via formal routes (eg the in-house consultancy skills and other training we offer) and informal routes (eg personal coaching for staff). You will find our staff are always happy to share their skills and knowledge with you and we are asked by numerous teams to transfer WCL consultancy and other skills..
Working with WCL
Our fundamental belief as an organisation is that you can only achieve change through people. WCL’s approach is therefore one of high engagement. We work with teams and stakeholders at all levels to ensure there is common understanding and buy-in to what needs to be done, by whom and by when.
We work with clients, developing close and trusted relationships at all levels in the organisation, recognising the skills and sensitivity required to work with a diverse range of stakeholders and partners.
As a company our core internal values are highly aligned to those of the public sector. Our clients tell us our ‘way of working’ sets us apart from other consultancies, but it is not just the experience of our consultants that you will notice, it is their values. They are collaborative, not arrogant; caring, thoughtful and above all dedicated to achieving the aims of public service projects, going out of their way to do more than is required and often investing significant discretionary personal effort to do an outstanding job.
Programme Management for the Public Sector
WCL has extensive experience working in Government Departments and Local Authorities to both embed, and drive delivery through, effective programme management arrangements and we have developed a simple, pragmatic approach for quickly establishing and managing policy-focused programmes.
Our programme management methods are all PRINCE2 compliant, but most of all they are pragmatic and delivery focused. Too often we see teams over-burdened with the demands of completing programme management documentation which is not designed to add value in the context of policy delivery.
The WCL approach is outlined in the diagram below and aims to simplify programme management as far as possible.
Risk Management in the Public Sector
Too many risk management approaches create a bureaucratic process that fails to manage risk. Adding a risk to the risk register becomes a proxy for managing it.
WCL has years of experience both in carrying out and advising on risk management. We have run risk workshops for many programmes across central Government and can also point to several examples where we have trained others in the basic principles, including in a Government Agency, where we ran risk training courses across the whole organisation, and the Department for Education, where we delivered numerous risk management training sessions.
Our simple in-house 3-stage risk methodology is based on fundamentally recognised principles such as those used in PRINCE2 and defined in the HM Treasury Orange Book. But, like all our methods and tools, we try to simplify as much as possible in order to make what we do pragmatic and high in added value for busy leaders and managers.
Too many of the methods we have seen from our research present risk management as a bureaucratic add-on process, and rely on jargon terms which people find confusing – both of which tend to switch people off wanting to do it. Our methodology ensures a constant focus on action and has been specifically designed to ensure that the fundamentally important questions can be answered for each risk:
What is the specific situation you are trying to manage?
How important is it that you should do something about it?
What actions are you going to take to manage it and when will they happen?
Who's going to manage it?
How often are you going to review progress?
We have worked on transformation programmes for many Government departments and on national policy programmes that aim to transform outcomes for citizens. Read more about our approach to transformation and change programmes.
We have developed and delivered engaging and impactful training programmes for teams in several Government departments, and in government agencies, colleges and schools.
A Government department
commissioned WCL to put in place a programme to improve 'delivery skills' through the design and delivery of a programme management and delivery skills training course for 1000-staff, with 1:1 coaching with key SCS and board members including the Permanent Secretary..
WCL designed a bespoke programme and presented the course aims and outline to the Board for discussion and approval. The course focused on improving the delivery skills of participants through a mix of programme management best practice and a focus on practical application in the policy delivery context. The course was based on the PRINCE2 framework, but borrowed from WCL’s experience of best practice in programme and change management application.