Solsus Project Managers

Case Study:

NHS Shared Business Services
Organisational redesign and cost reduction programme

NHS Shared Business Services Logo

NHS Shared Business Services is a unique joint venture between the Department of Health and Steria. The organisation provides business solutions for Primary and Secondary care NHS Trusts using a business model that allows the achievement of economies of scale, whilst bringing innovation and best practice solutions to improve its services to NHS clients.

Recognising an increasing workload on the Strategic Sourcing team and its growing client base of NHS Trusts, the board of NHS SBS decided to invest in consultancy support to increase the capacity of its Strategic Sourcing team. A LEAN process improvement analysis was instigated, followed by a rapid implementation of operational improvements across all team activities.

  • Services delivered by SOLSUS included:
  • Taking the learning from a LEAN analysis of the team's activities and supporting the process of turning it into reality
  • Developing LEAN tools and reports to support team hub activities
  • Developing and implementing governance and programme management office arrangements
  • Converting project planning processes from being a ‘once a year’ struggle to a rolling programme of refreshed activity
  • Managing the teams whilst the programme management principles were embedded into daily activity
  • Developing a suite of reports to create visibility and highlight risks
  • Developing and delivering a programme to target £20million in cost reductions across a range of Primary and Acute NHS Trusts
  • Ensuring full knowledge transfer and a stable ongoing ‘business as usual’ environment

SOLSUS provided a consultant to bolster the management team as Programme Director during the period of change. "The NHS SBS management team were clearly ambitious in deciding to change the roles and responsibilities within its strategic sourcing team, at the same time as upgrading the existing working practices" commented our consultant, "it was clear that much greater visibility of daily and weekly performance was going to be required and a more structured programme management led environment, if the change was to be successful".

In actual fact, the approach of the LEAN exercise fitted well with the needs of a programme management environment, given that it led to the introduction of "Hub Boards" for each team area that provided a constant view of performance for the teams and management alike.

According to out consultant "The hub boards were the starting point for the day, with each team reviewing progress with live projects, identifying risks and issues and dealing with them on the spot. This meant that problems did not fester and a more open environment was fostered, where risks and issues could be talked about at the early stages and solutions developed as a team".

Once improved visibility was in place, the next step was to establish solid programme management processes, to control the full cycle of project delivery, from identification and proposal through to implementation and evaluation. This required the development of a suite of templates and reports that supported each stage of the process and ensured consistency.

"One of our problems within the organisation was a reliance upon an annual refresh of the plan, where the teams attempted to develop a full 12 month programme of projects in one go. This was always an immense challenge and often led to delays in delivery. The changes that we have in place now have finally allowed us to feed a rolling programme of activity" says Strategic Sourcing Director Phil Davies "This makes us more flexible in what we can deliver to our clients and provides them with a much better view of the projects that we are planning to undertake".

The result of the programme was a significant reduction in the average delivery time of projects and the successful delivery of a £20 million cost reduction programme in 2013.

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