Assuring a major IT transformation programme in the public sector

Delivering change across the public sector has never been more important or difficult. It is characterised by increased urgency, rapid adoption of digital technologies, agile methods and, legacy and data systems that are no longer fit for purpose. The role of assurance is critical in safeguarding this delivery to ensure public money is protected and well-spent.


Project One was commissioned by a public sector organisation to undertake an independent assurance review of its core technology transformation programme and make recommendations to ensure that the intended benefits and outcomes would be achieved. 


A Government company was established in 2018 to deliver greater value across the Healthcare sector supply chain. The organisation was tasked with delivering significant savings over a five-year period. A key impediment to achieving these outcomes was the aged, legacy supply chain systems and technology. Accordingly, a core technology transformation programme was initiated in 2019 to drive forward the modernisation of the underlying order and warehouse management systems.


There were multiple parties involved in the programme including the organisation’s technology partner and logistics partner. The programme had an ambitious delivery plan, however by the end of 2019 it had become mired in dispute over scope and expectations. A culture of mistrust had also developed as a result of milestones and key dates slipping. 


The assurance review was conducted by a small team of senior change and transformation experts and was completed within one month. The review highlighted several critical issues that were inhibiting successful delivery, including: 


  • A lack of sponsorship, ineffective business leadership and limited drive from the programme leadership 
  • An incomplete plan for the programme, with ever changing business requirements which compromised the ability to keep to delivery timescales 
  • A technical imperative for the programme, with limited focus on the opportunity for business change and transformation 
  • A lack of capability across the programme to lead and manage delivery. 


Following the review, the Project One team supported the implementation of agreed changes to the programme. This included the replacement of senior members of the programme team across all parties, the setting up and running of an independent PMO, the creation of a design authority and the bolstering of release management activity for key systems.


With delivery stabilised and back on track, Project One conducted a follow-up assurance review at the end of 2020 to identify further improvements on how the programme was being delivered. This subsequent review resulted in a key recommendation that the Government organisation needed to coordinate the programme more effectively with the Systems Integrator through the appointment of a senior, experienced programme leadership role. 


The programme has been effectively stabilised and re-set, which has enabled the delivery of key systems changes and new functionality to be achieved. The Government organisation’s leadership now has increased confidence in the programme and greater visibility and engagement in the benefits that will be delivered.


The working relationships between all parties involved have been significantly improved, with everyone focused on a common goal and outcomes. 

“A fantastic result, well done. I would like to say thank you to everyone involved in this. It is testament to all your efforts that we are now live. Thank you for your professionalism, hard work, positive attitude, long hours, and collaboration to get us here – a moment to celebrate and a virtual raise of my glass to you all.”

Chief Operations Officer

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