Council performance improvement

London Borough of Hillingdon – a change programme that is still delivering performance improvements years later.

London Borough of HillingdonDespite attempts to address specific service and performance issues, the London Borough of Hillingdon was rated ‘weak’ by the Audit Commission's Comprehensive Performance Assessment (CPA) in a number of areas, including its ability to improve.

The initial intention of the Council was to tackle existing processes on a case by case basis within Directorates. Challenge advised that the Council be more radical and thorough, addressing not just how individual services were delivered, but taking a fundamental look at how its entire organisation and operations should be structured to maximise overall efficiencies.

In the first instance, we carried out a high-level review to establish the areas on which the Council should focus to maximise service improvements and provide the greatest opportunity for improved efficiency and cost savings. The main focus was on areas of high spend, high transaction volume and overlaps in service delivery. Our findings confirmed priority areas for increased service and management efficiency and the need to establish a formal change programme (HIP) to deliver required performance improvements.

The first phase of the project involved Challenge carrying out a cross-council review of services, performance and cost and identified a number of areas of improvement and a range of potential savings. We then used proprietary business modelling techniques to assess performance in the delivery of service to residents and refine the areas on which a change programme should focus as priority, and subsequently design and establish a comprehensive, integrated and sustainable change programme.

The Hillingdon Improvement Programme is recognised within the local government arena as an effective approach to sustained performance improvement. The Cabinet, Chief Executive and Corporate Management Team have taken HIP from strength to strength over the years. With our help, the Council is still well-placed to continue this improvement and to respond to the ever increasing pressure on councils, their budgets and delivery effectiveness.