The brief

A social housing provider’s Finance team had been experiencing significant leadership, process and workload challenges for several years, which had led to a lack of confidence in the team’s ability to meet its statutory requirements. C.Co was commissioned to carry out a review to see what action could be taken to enhance the team’s structure and performance, to develop a relationship of trust and to ensure its future sustainability.

C.Co’s approach

C.Co used a structured approach to undertake analysis, collate evidence and provide a set of key, timetabled recommendations to transform future performance.

As well as involving document analysis and conducting one to one interviews with the senior team, C.Co approached the review from a number of different perspectives, from processes, systems and performance through to cultures and behaviours. These different perspectives were used to gather evidence and to structure the review findings and recommendations.

Using the Cultural Web as a framework, C.Co was able to build a comprehensive picture of how the service operated and what was at the heart of the current issues. The tool has six key components:

  1. Stories and myths
  2. Signs and symbols
  3. Power structures
  4. Organisational structure
  5. Control systems
  6. Rituals and routines

Each of these six components when viewed together helped to reveal stresses in the current organisational structure, which created bottlenecks and single points of failure, leading to missed deadlines and last minute, rushed responses. In addition, there was an excessive reliance on interims that meant a lack of long term buy-in and no ability to plan strategically. Essential training had all but stopped because of work pressures and levels of customer satisfaction were not positive, with transactional, rather than value adding, relationships. As a consequence, staff morale was low and performance was suffering at an individual as well as team level.

The outcome

Having undertaken the review, C.Co drew up a meticulous future plan, setting out a series of recommendations and an implementation road map, with clear steps for improvement over a six month period. A recruitment plan was drawn up to stabilise and balance the senior management team and challenge and transform the organisation’s financial processes, as well as developing the whole Finance team, improving its value, reputation and relationships, and ultimately morale. C.Co’s skills and ability to understand both the ‘hard’ issues (systems, processes and procedures) as well the ‘softer’ ones (behaviours, culture and leadership) meant the root causes of whole finance system problems could identified and addressed as never before.

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