How efficient programme management transformed a UK challenger bank

In a competitive and turbulent market, our customer, a UK challenger bank, was facing a number of business-critical change and transformation programmes.  This would deliver additional Business Banking capability and resolve critical regulatory FCA demands around financial crime, reducing the risk of fines and reputational damage to the bank.  The key to success was using experienced programme management that also improved the efficiency of the overall IT portfolio delivery.  


A small team of senior change experts worked across three key programmes, supporting the internal team to achieve their set objectives: 

IT Transformation Portfolio

The bank was in the process of re-organising its Business and Technology Change functions and didn’t have the expertise required to implement the required programme governance and control. 


Using our programme management expertise and frameworks, our team quickly established an effective Portfolio Management Office capability across both business and technology change, with robust prioritisation mechanisms, transparent reporting of programme status and controlled gating of new change initiatives. The introduction of demand forecasting across the technology landscape allowed the organisation to flex where needed and additionally ensured that new change initiatives were mobilised effectively in line with priority.  


A health check was performed across all in-flight programmes and immediate triage applied where necessary. This utilised our proven assurance framework and approach. Remediation activity was scheduled where needed and some initiatives were stopped/slowed whilst others were accelerated. 

One of the immediate priorities was to remediate the in-flight GDPR programme, using our deep programme recovery skills, working closely with the Data Protection Officer (DPO) to agree scope and priorities. We worked with the business areas to scope out the business elements of change and drive progress so that core compliance was subsequently achieved in line with audit expectations. 

Capability and Innovation (C&I) Portfolio

The bank successfully applied for funding from the Capability and Innovation (C&I) Fund administered by Banking Competition Remedies Ltd (BCR). The purpose of this award was to improve services and capabilities offered to SME business banking customers. The C&I Programme was a large initiative with over 600 delivery staff at peak, including significant involvement of a Systems Integrator.   


We provided a deeply experienced programme director to lead this programme, overseeing the Portfolio Delivery, managing the Systems Integrator, and ensuring our customer received maximum value for its investment. The overall C&I budget was initially £360m over three years. Regular reporting to the Steer Co., Board and BCR (Quarterly) were key elements.    


Most of the new change initiatives were in the Digital space with around 20 programmes successfully delivered, including: 


  • Business Account Opening – delivering a best in market experience with an average of less than 20 minutes end-to-end journey and with enhanced security features 
  • Small Business Loans online application process. Bounce Back Loans were also successfully introduced in record time in request to Government emergency COVID legislation 
  • Enhanced Online Banking platform – leveraging Cloud, authentication, and authorisation patterns and a new front-end, including the migration of over 1.8m accounts. 
  • New foundational capabilities, for example cloud capability, real time Customer Screening, and Implementation of new ways of working, rolling out Scaled Agile Framework. 


The foundational capabilities have set up the Bank for success and are now being leveraged across the organisation. Our programme management expertise added significant value with the on-time delivery of these key change initiatives. 


Financial Crime Improvement Programme

The bank needed to improve its Financial Crime Control framework aligned to FCA regulation.  A range of initiatives were mobilised under a Financial Crime Improvement Programme to remediate control gaps and to enable the Bank to meet regulatory commitments. 


We deployed a team of three consultants to provide overall programme management and to drive the IT delivery work. Our team used their complex programme delivery experience to set-up the required governance and control and to manage the set of senior Executive level stakeholders. Our programme director also had regular updates with the FCA. 


Key financial crime technology solutions were upgraded to improve overall sustainability and deliver more effective financial crime prevention outcomes, including enhanced transaction monitoring and more effective alert reviews. The programme delivered a significant uplift in controls and capability to meet regulatory obligations. 

“I find Project One bring really experienced resource that hit the ground running. They can deal with ambiguity, get to the solutions fast and work across a wide set of stakeholders. I have nothing but the utmost respect for them. One of the key things is they integrate into the team. I make no distinction between colleagues who come from the partners with Project One and internal colleagues. I know I’ve actually had colleagues from Project One in our boardroom and it’s not everybody I would let into our boardroom. I think that is a reflection on the trust both I and the organisation have placed on some of the expertise that they’ve brought to bear.” 

Chief Transformation Officer

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