Castlerigg Support Organisation-wide Transformation at Renfrewshire Council

In June 2013 Castlerigg were commissioned to support the development of a new organisation wide, three year transformation programme.  This commission was structured into three stages and sponsored by the Director of Finance and Corporate Services who operates as the Transformation Director within the council. 

Stage 1

The purpose of the first stage was to produce an assessment of Renfrewshire Council’s past and present approach to the management of change and the associated resourcing, capability and governance of change initiatives in order to analyse the Council’s preparedness to move into another significant phase of transformation.  Our assessment was based on reviewing corporate planning, change controls and delivery, and the evidence of key change principles and values of Castlerigg’s change management approach.

Our approach is always to work closely with our clients in producing such assessments, involving a wide cross section of stakeholders and ensuring the senior leaders (in this instance the Corporate Management Team) understand the process, rationale and evidence for findings so that the final recommendations are already accepted and supported before we finalise our report. 


Stage 2

In the second stage we provided consultancy support to help implement the recommendations of stage one whilst we facilitated the initial scoping of their future ‘better council’ change programme and assisted in the drafting of their Council Plan.  These exercises were taken forward together so that the Council Plan informed, and was informed by, the initial scoping and approach to the Change Programme.  Through the facilitation of a number of workshops with the Chief Executive, Transformation Director and wider executive team, Castlerigg worked closely with them to build commitment to the necessary scale and level of ambition required to ensure the council remains sustainable.

With multiple drivers for change (including a requirement to make substantial savings by 2017/18), the council’s leadership team achieved an honest, pragmatic consensus on the programme scope, design principles, approach, methodology, tools, risks and issues and initial opportunities with Castlerigg using both our change management methodology to structure this process, tailored to the council’s circumstances and maturity around change management.  Their involvement at each stage created a deep appreciation and common agreement of all these aspects, but also ensured the development process was never ahead of the executive’s ‘buy in’ – too often programme plans and structures can evolve faster than the executive’s ownership leading to programmes taking on a life of their own.  The main output at this stage was an agreed Programme Mandate.


Stage 3

In the final stage, Castlerigg developed with Renfrewshire Council a programme brief and then a programme definition document to establish their three year transformation programme.  Castlerigg’s role was to provide consultancy support and programme management to establish the programme, developing with the council a range of new capability to ensure the emerging programme was well conceived including tailored MSP governance, benefits management approach, a new commissioning led service review and redesign process and a resource management plan which defined Renfrewshire’s new Programme Management Office (PMO), including roles, skills profile and sourcing strategy in terms of internal and external expertise within the PMO. 

Here's how…


Programme Management

Renfrewshire Council had identified a need to develop a programme of change in order to achieve its strategic objectives and remain a sustainable council in the context of increasing demand, growing costs and further significant reduction in the resources available. Castlerigg worked closely with the corporate management team to specify requirements and scope the change programme that would run over 3 years. Working in a time of increased financial uncertainty, there was recognition that the programme would need to be flexible in order to respond to potential change in the wider strategic, and political, environment. The commission also supported the council to understand its future sourcing strategy for change management resources - including which change skills it would want to develop and retain internally and which it would go to the market to access.  In particular, the council recogised it would want in the long term to have its own strategic programme management capacity and plans were put in place to support this skills transfer over time.  Castlerigg ensured the final deliverables provided Renfrewshire with clear governance, scope and a practical programme approach to ensure that realisation of benefits would not be jeopardised going forward. 


Skills Transfer

Castlerigg worked closely with the executive leadership team (CMT) to define their role in terms of leading their future change programme. Through a series of facilitated workshops, the need, approach and role of directors in taking the change forward was mapped and the council was keen to build its own internal capacity around Programme, Project and Business Analysis and we provided mentoring and coaching support around both programme and project skills and behaviours, to a range of staff involved in taking forward the new Programme.   


Change Management

A transformation programme can only be successful if it is underpinned by sound change management principles and methodology.  To ensure that the council was suitably prepared to implement change (and by working closely with the Corporate Management Team), we were able to review the council’s existing approach to change and recommend that they:

  • Improve the alignment of their change activity with the council plan
  • Improve the evidence base for change projects
  • Improve benefits management to ensure a more balanced focus on both the financial and non-financial benefits of planned change
  • Improve transition planning of new capability into business as usual operations and the creation of a clear future operating model 

Business Architecture

In stage one of the commission Castlerigg identified the importance of aligning future change programme to the strategic outcomes the council needed to achieve, ensuring change was properly focused, evidence based and clear on intended outcomes.  Castlerigg worked closely with council officers to ensure that redesign of services would:

  • Be characterised by a more flexible, agile workforce that supports a move to more localised service delivery
  • Encompass a ‘commissioning approach’ whereby the council reviewed its delivery model and its on-going alignment to the priority outcomes it needs to enable, ensuring it continues to have the optimum mix of services delivered through the most appropriate means (internal, co-produced, externally sourced etc.)
  • Identify significant opportunities to reduce cost and improve productivity to ensure it continues to offer value for money to its communiities