Friday, 30 November 2007

Where next for transformational government?

I've been re-reading some information on Transformational Government as it's now two years since the original strategy was published back in November 2005. Amongst implementation and progress papers I found a really interesting one in the Work Foundation's 'Public Services & ICT' series entitled: 'Where next for transformational government?' by Alexandra Jones and Laura Williams. It's dated September 2006 but the content is still very relevant to where I work over a year on. After giving some background it details the challenges that we continue to face:

  • Lack of link between project and organisation's key strategic priorities
  • Lack of clear senior management (and ministerial) ownership and leadership
  • Lack of effective stakeholder engagement
  • Lack of skills and proven approach to project and risk management
    • Scope Creep
    • Unrealistic Timescales
    • Perfection tomorrow rather than compromise today
    • Not enough attention paid to risk profiles

  • Lack of understanding of and contact with supply industry and senior levels
    • Avoid over-design of the procurement specification
    • Create genuine partnerships
    • Be realistic about risk transfer
    • More honesty from suppliers

  • Evaluation of proposals driven by initial price rather than long-term value
    • Business benefits should be the real measure of success
    • Not just time and cost

  • Too little attention to chunking project into manageable steps
    • More projects need rigorous piloting
    • Lack of Communication between policymakers and deliverers, and IT managers and senior managers

  • Inadequate resources and skills to deliver the total delivery portfolio

And conversely, it also highlights what makes a successful project (nothing really new here):
  • Clear and realistic business strategy with ICT as enabler
    • Keep it simple
      • Simplify transactions
      • Incentivise cheaper options
      • Different solutions for different services
      • Design services around customers
      • Do a pilot
      • Have a safety net

  • Processes redesigned to be more effective
  • Leaders engaged in project and visibility committed to success
  • Change management strategy engaging staff
  • Investment in capacity of staff
  • Customer segmentation - Understanding different customer needs
  • Good relationships with suppliers
  • Risks identified and managed

The report finishes with 10 recommendations. I won't detail them here though, go and have a look for yourself. It's actually a really good report (unlike some I've read).

Do you see these challenges for you and your organisation (if you work in government anyway!)?


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