2 Setting standards for capacity and
13. To achieve successful delivery, departments need
to be clear about the priority of the different change programmes
in their portfolio and about their capacity and capability to
deliver them. Prudential UK, for example, delivered its 1000-day
transformation programme by managing the portfolio as a whole
rather than as individual projects, which allowed the board to
trade-off between projects in the best interests of the overall
14. The Chief Information Officer Council is promoting
a common approach to portfolio management designed to enable departments
to plan better how to timetable and prioritise their programmes
and projects and to keep Accounting Officers and boards informed
of risks to delivery. A common approach to portfolio management
will also provide a clearer overview of the totality of the Government's
mission critical programmes and projects and hence the capacity
and capability needed by both departments and suppliers to deliver
15. A key element
in the 24 case studies of IT-enabled change identified in the
C&AG's Report, was their recognition of the need to build
the capability and capacity to deliver major programmes and projects.
Within central government, despite moves to improve capacity and
capability, the skills and resources needed to deliver large IT-enabled
business change remain a matter of concern for Gateway Reviewers
(Figure 4), and for Heads of Centres of Excellence, more
than 70% of whom remain concerned about a lack of programme and
project management skills within departments.
Figure 4: Between the periods July 2003 to February 2004 and March 2004
to March 2006 the percentage of "Red" issues raised
in Gateway Reviews of IT-enabled programmes and projects fell
in three of the top five categories, but concerns about skills
and resources rose.
16. Senior civil servants are relatively inexperienced
in running mission critical and high risk programmes and projects.
Around half (53%) of Senior Responsible Owners are in their first
"SRO" role and the time they spend on the role is limited.
Most spend only a minority of their time on their Senior Responsible
Owner duties and for nearly half (45%) the role accounts for less
than a fifth of their time.
The Delivery and Transformation Group acknowledges that departments'
skills in managing large IT-enabled change are weak and is seeking
to re-build capacity.
17. For commercial organisations, IT-enabled change
can be crucial to the success or failure of the business and,
reflecting this importance, incentives and performance management
regimes are geared to motivate those responsible to succeed.
Currently, Senior Responsible Owners are not rewarded for staying
the course to delivery of their programme or project, or for taking
ownership of risks.
Lack of experience combined with a regular turnover of Senior
Responsible Owners, creates discontinuity and adds unnecessary
risk to the management of IT-enabled business change.
18. As programmes and projects make the transition
from initial planning through to implementation and post-implementation,
departments need to undertake careful succession planning to ensure
that successful teams are deployed to best effect in order to
consolidate their skills over a series of major IT-enabled programmes
and to build up capability across government.
19. Successful client-supplier relationships are
characterised by open and honest dealings between departments
and suppliers, where outcomes are defined clearly and risks are
shared. Here, valuable
lessons can be learned from major programmes and projects in longer-established
sectors such as construction, for example Heathrow Terminal 5.
20. Departments manage their suppliers better when
they specify clearly what they want delivered.
Allocating time up front to ensure that change is well thought
through was important for the Northern Irish Criminal Justice
Directorate's Causeway Programme. The Directorate achieved clarity
about what the business change should achieve by spending eight
months on mapping the business processes involved in the Programme.
Similarly, OGCbuying.solutions spent time drawing on the experience
of customers to help design an e-sourcing service that met their
21. Major IT-enabled business change frequently involves
the use of third party consultants to supplement the client's
capacity. Britannia Building Society used third party consultants
to validate at significant milestones whether the conditions for
success were in place.
The Vehicle and Operator Services Agency used consultants to work
with its front line staff who were experienced users of the existing
system to help design the new process.
Consultants' input can also include assisting departments to manage
suppliers, providing independent quality assurance of suppliers'
work, and at the procurement stage helping departments shape their
requirements and testing the quality of bidders' proposals.
22. Departments can derive maximum benefit from such
arrangements by adopting a model similar to that of the Vehicle
and Operator Services Agency, whereby in order to build up longer
term capability its consultants were contracted to transfer knowledge
and skills to the Agency's staff throughout the programme. The
importance of skills transfer in building departments' capability
was also noted in the C&AG's Report on central government's
use of consultants; alongside a more general need for government
departments to act as intelligent clients and use consultants
effectively and sparingly.
32 C&AG's Report, para 9; Q 1; Case Study Volume,
page 76, para 5 Back
Ibid, para 9; Q 1 Back
Ibid, para 9; Q 4 Back
Q 21; C&AG's Report, para 3.21 Back
Qq 13, 19 Back
C&AG's Report, paras 2.12, 2.14 Back
Qq 19, 20, 46-47 Back
C&AG's Report, para 9; Q 3 Back
Q 72 Back
Qq 54, 67-76 Back
Q 68 Back
Qq 40-41, 95-97 Back
Q 44; C&AG's Report, Improving Public Services through
Better Construction, HC (2004-05) 364-1, Case Example 15 Back
Q 64 Back
C&AG's Report, para 3.10; Case Study Volume, page 36,
para 6 Back
C&AG's Report, para 3.12; Case Study Volume, page 26,
paras 5-6 Back
C&AG's Report, para 3.4 Back
Ibid, para 3.11 Back
Ibid, paras 3.3-3.4 Back
Ibid, para 3.5; See also C &AG's Report, Central
Government's use of Consultants, HC (2006-07) 128; Summary,
paras 4, 6 Back