Wirral Council

Wirral Council needed to review its target operating model to ensure that it was aligned to its emerging priorities. These included major economic development aspirations, a significant reform agenda and significant efficiency saving requirements.

The C.Co team supported the Council across a number of its key delivery areas including:

  • Designing a new senior officer structure
  • Designing an economic development and regeneration directorate
  • Designing a corporate and business services directorate
  • Designing a strategy and partnerships directorate

In all of these areas, the key outcome was to help build structures designed to align the services to common aims and business needs that built on the vision for Wirral that was expressed through the Wirral Plan and the Pledges that underpinned it. The design needed to take account of a number of factors, including budget, strategic priorities, service outcomes and future service delivery. The emerging aspirations were informed through engagement with key stakeholders, as well as the observation, identification and quantification of strategic and transactional activity. Our team ensured that it was able to share good practice and learning from other comparable authorities, especially for the creation of the economic development directorate, which was being created to respond to a recent significant private sector partnership agreement. It also needed to reflect the emerging objectives of continued partnership working, collaboration and community involvement.

The review recognised that there was a need for clearer accountabilities across the organisation to help drive effective and timely actions and decisions and to streamline management and leadership structures. There was an opportunity to reduce ‘silo’ working, support greater partnership collaboration and to align the commissioning and delivery functions. The emerging options required socialisation and consultation, as well as communication and engagement. Affordability was key and the structure was carefully costed in accordance with the Council’s approach to salary budgeting and any necessary investment costs (i.e. redundancy) were calculated with appropriate pay back periods ascertained.

The new structures recognised the skill sets and capabilities necessary to deliver the priority outcomes for the future. As part of this, new role profiles and job descriptions were developed. A number of the roles were significantly different from existing roles and there was a need to recruit into the new posts, either through internal or external recruitment, as appropriate. This required sensitive two-way, iterative, communication and engagement activity. We supported the formal consultation across a number of areas, providing expert input to the HR processes and helping to respond to any questions or queries raised as part of the consultation. We then supported the implementation and change planning for the restructure implementation.

A restructure of this scale required detailed implementation planning and management. Key tasks included engagement, draft structures, structure refinement, job roles, job descriptions, ring-fence identification, formal consultation document drafting, management of responses to consultation process, final structure and recruitment. In parallel, internal communications were necessary, not only to update the in-scope workforce, but the departments which the restructured services would be working with going forward.

The outcome of the work provided efficiency opportunities of £750K in the senior management structure alone. In addition, it recognised the skills that would be required in the future and was able to either develop internal talent or bring new skills into the Council. All of this meant a further drive towards reflecting the Council’s commitment to becoming a commercial organisation, with the growing requirement to support alternative delivery vehicles for traditional council services, to support the Council’s shareholder role, reflect changes in the way local government is financed and the increasing reliance on local income collection.

At C.Co, we support organisations with solutions for all aspects of change management, enabling successful improvement and transformation across the public sector. If you are interested in finding out more, please get in touch with us today.