validus management consultancy UK

Local Government Case Study

Essex Local Authority Development Control function

Staff skills, IT & morale problems
Department now hitting all three targets for the first time in over 5 years


The Development Control function within an Essex based Local Authority


  • Changes to key staff (including the DC manager) had led to an erosion of the skills base
  • Department had recently introduced a new IT system but this was not being fully utilized
  • Targets for major, minor and other applications not being met – recent critical report from the Audit Commission
  • Over-reliance on subcontractors (particularly for major applications)
  • Morale within the department was low


  • Formed a joint project team to carry out a detailed review of all processes covering submission, determination and post-committee work
  • Constructed full-scale, detailed process maps and critiqued with full involvement from all members of staff
  • Constructed a workload management model to enable improved forecasting, planning / allocation and monitoring of applications workloads
  • Reviewed the organisation structure for improved corporate coherence and workload balancing
  • Carried out an audit of existing skills within the department
  • Reviewed key roles and re-defined responsibilities
  • Reviewed subcontractor processes and delivery performance
  • Carried out a series of re-engineering workshops, re-engineered processes included:
    • Newly defined enquiry and pre-application processes
    • Improved registration and allocation of workloads to case officers
    • Visibility and improved management of workloads
    • Identification of key milestones and expectation setting for completion
    • Agreed SLAs with internal and external agencies
    • Improved use of IT systems
    • Improved performance reporting
  • Detailed implementation plan developed and agreed
  • All process definitions captured in detailed procedures


  • Vastly improved and consistent business processes adopted across the department
  • Improved visibility and management of workloads
  • Improved utilization and productivity of staff
  • Reduced substantial subcontractor costs to zero
  • Enhanced staff skills and competencies (both technical and managerial)
  • Generated increased confidence and morale within the department
  • Department now hitting all three targets for the first time in over 5 years