Example Assignments

Reforming programme management and governance to improve programme performance.

A flagship government programme was being run as a series of silo’ed projects without an effective programme management office (PMO), resulting in lack of co-ordination and attracting significant criticism from Cabinet Office MPA reviews.

Qi Consulting was engaged to carry out an extensive review of the management of the programme and work with the Head of Programme and Senior Responsible Officer to bring about essential role, process and attitudinal change. The consultant deployed for this challenging assignment has 35 year project and programmes experience, and is a Cabinet Office High Risk Review Team Leader.

Our consultant conducted an extensive review, talking to people across the programme and outside, attending programme meetings, and providing expert advice and challenge. She developed an ambitious vision for upskilling the PMO, transforming its focus, and changing the way the individual project teams interacted with the programme. This involved substantial changes to people’s roles and management chains across the programme. Following implementation of the changes, she assessed their effectiveness, working with teams to adjust their roles to reflect programme practicalities.

Quote from the Head of Programme: “She provided me personally (and key members within my team) with a huge amount of support during the difficult review period and in the aftermath. Most importantly, she helped to raise the profile of good PPM within the Department, and to raise our level of ambition within the PMO. Her expertise has been invaluable in helping us to focus on the right areas, to professionalise us as a team, and to persuade the rest of the programme of value of a strong and professional PMO”.

Support to a government programme run as an outsourced contract

Qi Consulting provided a team of consultants to support a government programme which provides recruitment, training administration, and financial information management services. The programme was an outsourced contract based on PFI principles, dispersed over 200 sites with 13,000 employees and delivering training to some 70,000 individuals each year. As such it was a complex operating environment with multi-layered approval structures for key decisions and complex governance arrangements, given the range of stakeholders involved in sign-off. In addition, the department was subject to high levels of scrutiny by the Public Accounts Committee as well as the press and public; and in common with the whole of government, the department was under pressure to reduce spend and so operated in a cash constrained operating environment.

Our consultancy support has included: the development of an output-based statement of service requirements for training systems; the development of bid evaluation models; plans for the procurement from issue of the requirement to evaluation of best and final offers; advice on all aspects of the procurement process such as suitable approaches for PFI, risk transfer, service levels, contract negotiations, cost modelling, project and risk management.

Benefits Profiling for a major infrastructure programme

Qi with one of our specialist partners was asked to develop programme and initiative benefits profiles and realisation plans for the HS2 Programme. This included: development of templates; benefits mapping; supporting the client’s Benefits Team in finalising specific ownership and management arrangements for each benefit; identifying stakeholders involved in benefits delivery and ensuring they were aware of their role; creating a benefits baseline forecast for each benefit; supporting the socialisation and agreement of measures, targets and baseline forecasts with key stakeholders including governance panels and boards, and supporting assurance with internal and external assurers.

In the original scope, we were asked to work with a system that had already been procured. However, this proved insufficiently developed and inadequate to the task within the timeframe, so Qi developed interim tools to manage the benefits information.

Interim HR Director to support a TUPE transfer

A major Government Department was implementing a new ICT Operating Model enabled by a transformed ICT supplier arrangement. The transition of services from legacy suppliers to the new model involved a transfer under the TUPE regulations, and although the TUPE transfer of staff was an issue to be resolved between the suppliers, the Department was called upon to broker discussions, ensure the transfer of staff information from the legacy provider and, as necessary, mediate between suppliers. Although the Programme had legal support for TUPE, it lacked the ability to review supplier claims from an HR management perspective, and therefore sought the support of an HR manager with experience of staff transfers and TUPE management issues in respect of major public sector outsourcing programmes.

Qi Consulting provided one of its most experienced HR specialists to fulfil this role and she supported the programme through to successful implementation of the new model.

In addition to specific activities relating to the transformation programme, our consultant assumed the role of the department’s HR Manager, taking overall control of its HR function, with responsibility for: the department's personnel and training strategy; staff recruitment; remuneration and rewards procedures; employee training and development; and compliance with employment and health and safety legislation.

Risk Management for clients using a shared service

A Qi Consulting team have provided security advice, risk assessments and risk management services to a number of ministerial agencies, all using the same shared IT service. Our consultants support the clients’ in house security teams, providing an expert add-on to their existing capabilities covering all aspects of information assurance, with an emphasis is on knowledge transfer, mentoring and training, to ensure information assurance skills and awareness are embedded within the client organisations.

We provide advice, guidance and recommendations on how Information Assurance exposures, including cyber security risks, should be managed to help our clients make risk decisions and develop strategies for risk management. With each organisation we have developed or strengthened its risk management framework which defines how assets are to be protected, systems monitored, recovery planned and practised and where risks are accepted. Specifically we have introduced the use of the NIST 800-39 Risk Management Approach, providing a recognisable business risk assessment methodology expressed in everyday English.

Business Case support for a Council’s schools improvement programme

A Qi Consulting team provided a County Council with expert advice in preparing business cases for its schools change programme. The Council had embarked on a series of primary school catchment reviews with the objective of improving the quality of local education facilities. Its aim was that the outcome of the review programme would be funded jointly by the Council and a national schools programme, and the it therefore had to make a strategic case for educational change to justify government investment.

Our team provided a broad base of skills and independent professional advice to assist the Council’s project team to develop the Strategic Outline Case (SOC), and subsequently the Outline and Full Business Cases (OBC & FBC), using best practice and following the Treasury’s Green Book Five Case Model.

We delivered the final SOC against a tight timescale, identifying and analysing the information required from the various interested parties and facilitating workshops and other meetings to determine: strategic context; spending objectives; existing arrangements; business need; business scope; key service requirement; benefits, risks, constraints and dependencies; critical success factors; long list options; and the preferred way forward.

Departmental Structural Review for a large Blue Light organisation

A large Fire and Emergency Planning authority sought external assistance to review the structure of its ICT department to ensure that it was optimally set up to face the continued challenges going forward. The department of 55 staff was facing significant budgetary challenges, a reduction in staff levels, and had recruitment and pay and grading issues which made it difficult to recruit key roles in its technical design and security teams.

Qi Consulting assigned a team of two of our senior people to deliver this requirement. They designed a four-week timetable for the review, during which time they undertook a full analysis of the department, its future workloads, composition and structure. Our final report made proposals on how the composition and structure could be optimised to address future challenges, with our view on the risks and benefits of each option. We considered staff issues and succession planning. We were able to offer the Head of ICT options for change rather than hard recommendations in keeping with the desire for our consultants to act as critical friends.

Improving clinical and financial sustainability in a Health economy

Qi Consulting in conjunction with one of our specialist partners was asked to undertake a thorough capability and capacity review for an NHS service and to recommend changes to organisational form and structure, leadership capacity and capability and to secure support for those recommendations from key partners and NHSE.

We recognised that to be effective in this locality would require working with and through local people, undertaking an objective appraisal whilst aiming to develop and support local capacity where possible. An extensive interview process was conducted, including national and local leaders, clinicians, partners and stakeholders, as well as a detailed review of all relevant documentation, and the key issues were synthesised.

Our team was subsequently appointed to support the client to develop a strategic plan for sustainable change, including helping them to: analyse spend and develop a detailed understanding of the drivers of current and future budgetary deficits; develop plans for improvement by identifying 20 major opportunities to deliver clinically and financially sustainable care and reduce financial waste; identify £100m of changes that would impact on sustainability; and create a programme structure for taking the work forward.