Change management in local councils: new methodology saves millions

Combining research into process-driven IT architecture and change management we created a unique business process re-engineering methodology for Salford City Council. SPRINT has delivered £0.5 million in cost savings and has become the standard system for all local government.

Prior to our development of the Salford Process Engineering Involving New Technology (SPRINT) system, most major business change projects in local government were orchestrated by external consultants. This costly input limited staff engagement and prevented them from learning, adopting and adapting business remodelling for themselves. Moreover, council IT teams would use separate methodologies and software to develop their IT systems, rather than fully integrating IT development into change projects.
Salford City Council wanted to develop in-house expertise that would meld process re-engineering with the redesign of business information systems.
Salford tested and quickly adopted our SPRINT methodology; the council has now trained 240 staff to use SPRINT in projects in housing, revenues, customer services and other key areas of activity.
Key benefits in Salford:

  • £500,000 savings through business process re-engineering projects
  • Major contribution to meeting the £20 million efficiency savings targets of the Gershon report
  • Key component of Salford’s transformation programme

The use of SPRINT led to Salford City Council achieving top four-star CPA scores. The Local Government Association also gave Salford the “Best of the Best” local government services award for Customer Services Revenues and Benefits, and area benefiting from SPRINT redesign.

Following the success of SPRINT, in 2004 the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister adopted SPRINT as best practice for all local authorities. Around 100 councils now use SPRINT across the UK.
Oldham Metropolitan Borough Council uses SPRINT in the core of its ‘Value for Money’ efficiency programme which has so far driven budget savings of £40 million.

Our research

Computer scientist Professor Kawalek and psychologist Professor Wastell (University of Salford, now University of Nottingham) worked to integrate their insights in the areas of business information systems and business change processes.

The idea was to develop an approach to process re-engineering and IT architecture design which could be understood and implemented by busy staff employees (rather than external consultants.

A key aspect of the work was to integrate the design and remodelling of IT systems to complement any process re-engineering. Professor Kawalek developed methods to ‘abstract’ models for IT architecture from proposed business process designs. These could inform formal IT system specifications.

Kawalek also added a ‘coordination layer’ to the IT architecture as a mechanism for aligning IT systems more closely to business processes and making them more flexible and adaptable to any process re-engineering.