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Organisation design for a government department

Organisation design for a government department
Region UK
Sector Public Sector, Health and Not For Profit
Offering Organisation Design

The Challenge

This government department had evolved organically to deal with fast paced changes in the environment e.g. EU exit, COVID, COP26, and the war in Ukraine. Over the last two years, various directorates have been absorbed and transferred away. ​With the appointment of a new Director General, the department wanted to be proactive in reviewing its operations, and ensuring that it aligned to both to the Department’s Strategic Objectives and its own clarified purpose. ​Q5 were asked to help the department understand what works well today and what are areas for improvement as part of any future design, while configuring the department for both short and long-term success and enabling it to lead and engage with confidence​. 

Our Approach

  • Throughout the 16-week period we worked closely with stakeholders from across the Department including a Director General and SCSs (senior civil servants), alongside key external stakeholders from Other Government Departments. We employed our central design group to maintain consistency and communications across the workstreams​
  • Following Q5’s tried and tested Metro Map approach to OD, we conducted 41 interviews with SCS (senior civil servants) and key external stakeholders, surveyed 131 colleagues in the wider department population, and held multiple in-person and virtual all-staff engagement sessions​
  • We crafted a Purpose Statement that resonated with the majority of the department,  collated and sequenced 143 key activities that the department performs, and identified 5 topics that required further detailed exploration ​
  • We designed and developed several Operating Models Options, incorporating a diverse range of views from across the group. These allowed us to visualise how the different blocks of activity could most effectively be grouped to execute the complex strategic goals of the department

Key Outcomes

  • A clear articulation of the purpose, anchoring and unifying the group​​
  • The creation of clearly defined and aligned TOM options to act as a blueprint for the future design as we look to the implementation phase​​
  • The creation of 5 Design Principles to ensure the complex implementation of our design will still emphasise accountability, efficiency, and flexibility in the face of a shifting political, economic, and social climate​​
  • We upskilled senior civil servants in organisational design, including facilitation and delivery. Individuals now have improved capability, confidence and credibility to support future design work​
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