Thomas Loward, one of our experienced trainers and consultants shares his recent and ongoing experience of implementing CHAMPS2 in a large Belgian local authority.

The project has been triggered by the relocation of the City’s administrative services from one building to another. His mission – as an external consultant – is to define what and how the local authority can provide public services in its future building prior to the launch of an architectural call for proposals.

As we are at an early stage in this mission, we are not yet discussing organizational transformation as such with the client – the trigger for our involvement was simply that the internal project manager felt that the relocation represented an undefined opportunity to modernize the service delivery, without yet knowing precisely how.

CHAMPS2 or how to manage business transformation

Our first task was to discover how public services are provided currently at a local level and to understand the expectations of the Chief Executive, in relation to the project. The services are currently delivered from a 1950s building, with the public having to find their way through a maze of corridors to find the right service. The reception area for each of the various points of service is very restrictive and accessing services out of office hours is impossible.

The Mayor is keen to improve public service delivery by limiting the time that the public has to spend moving around the offices, but without a pre-determined idea of what the new service should look like nor of what kinds of processes should be implemented in terms of both organisation and infrastructure – the famous invisible part of the iceberg.

There had been little reflection prior to our involvement so one of our first decisions was to take the in-house Project Manager to visit a public administration providing the same services in another country where there were no queues, an extensive range of centralized services provided on the ground floor in an all in one administrative centre which is clean, bright and very welcoming.

This visit really showed the mayor the potential scope for improving the local authority’s own service delivery and the scope for using the reorganisation as an opportunity for organizational transformation. Such was the Mayor’s enthusiasm that a second visit was conducted for key Local Authority staff which had the effect of demonstrating what could be achieved as well as the extent of the journey that would be involved in modernising their own public service delivery.

Following these visits we were able to achieve real progress in our in house workshops with staff keen to reflect upon the opportunities represented by a transformation of public service delivery based on the goal of improvement rather than focusing on their fear of change to the established order.

Showing people what is happening elsewhere, exchanging ideas with people who have already followed a similar path is a pre-requisite to real change and an essential part of the CHAMPS2 process.

For more information about CHAMPS2, see here.

John Higham

John helps organisations blend Best Practices in their management systems to improve the way Portfolio of Change Initiatives are run.