validus management consultancy UK

Local Government Case Study

North East Local Authority Development Control

Business process evaluation
Department now on target to achieve top quartile performance against statutory targets


The Development Control department within a North Eastern based Local Authority


  • Whilst currently meeting its statutory targets, the department required a fundamental examination of its business processes to ensure maximum effectiveness, efficiency and value for money
  • Currently upgrading IT (Uniform) and introducing (IDOX) document management systems
  • Had experienced problems of workload and resourcing with recent major applications
  • Inconsistency of advice given to applicants leading to complaints
  • Department aim – to achieve top quartile performance against statutory targets


  • Formed a joint project team to carry out a detailed review of all processes, workloads and skills within the department
  • Constructed full-scale, detailed process maps and critiqued with full involvement from all members of staff – approximately 200 individual process critiques identified
  • Held a series of reviews with members to gain their insight and involvement
  • Carried out a detailed analysis of workloads and resources examining:
    • Time spent on core (planning and associated) activities
    • Time spent on (disproportionately time consuming) 'other' office activities
    • Amount of time spent by key work-groups (grades) on core vs. other work
  • Utilisation of key workgroups, who was fully loaded, who had spare capacity
  • Skills available within key workgroups
  • Opportunities to discontinue, re-distribute, raise performance on key tasks / activities
  • Carried out a series of re-engineering workshops – redefined processes for:
    • Enquiry and pre-application processes / Improved registration and allocation of workloads to case officers / Determination by officers / Committee preparation and post committee work / Appeals / Enforcements
    • Improved visibility and management of workloads throughout the entire process
    • Improved use of IT systems, e-planning and document management processes
    • Improved performance reporting
  • Detailed implementation plan developed and agreed
  • All process definitions captured in detailed procedures


  • Vastly improved and consistent business developed, now being implemented
  • Training plans in place to ensure consistency of advice to applicants
  • Spare capacity within key workgroups identified
  • Workload analysis formed the basis of further internal job evaluation
  • Alignment of organisation structure
  • Improved management of whole applications process
  • Department now on target to achieve top quartile performance against statutory targets