Background and Challenges
Tamworth Borough Council initiated the Recovery & Reset Programme in response to the challenges and opportunities presented by the Coronavirus pandemic. The council faced a £7 million funding gap on the General Fund over five years, and Marmion House, a council property, was under-occupied and difficult to let, resulting in an estimated cost of £5 million over the years and £20 million over a 30-year period. Additionally, the council recognised the need to be future-fit and deliver core and statutory services efficiently as one cohesive organisation.
Several key challenges and opportunities were identified at the beginning of the programme. Council finances were uncertain due to the economic impact of the pandemic. Rising citizen demands and expectations necessitated improved access to services. The pandemic also accelerated opportunities for the council to work smarter and adopt more efficient practices.
Trueman Change Involvement
Trueman Change were involved in supporting Tamworth Borough Council's Recovery & Reset Programme by providing consultancy support and guidance. Our role included producing reports for various council meetings, advising on best practices for programme implementation, conducting reality checks on program progress, and providing risk management advice.
Additionally, we worked closely with the council's Assistant Directors for reporting purposes, highlighting important reports, and ensuring effective communication. We also provided support in the area of communications and engagement, including updating the council's website and literature to keep stakeholders informed.
Furthermore, we played a crucial role in the re-design of services within the council. Through a service review and stakeholder consultation, we helped identify areas for improvement and proposed a new team structure. Our efforts aimed to refocus the council's endeavours towards a neighbourhood improvement team, enhancing service delivery and citizen experiences.
Outcomes and SolutionsThe involvement of our consultancy services yielded significant outcomes and solutions for Tamworth Borough Council's Recovery & Reset Programme. Some of the key achievements are as follows:
The programme facilitated savings of just over £6.5 million, paving the way for increased financial resilience.
- External and internal audits were conducted, providing substantial assurance regarding the programme/project infrastructure.
- The programme's governance arrangements were recognised as best practice.
Delivery of improved core and statutory services:
- Improved customer intelligence gathering helped the council gain a better understanding of citizen needs.
- Increased digital access to services provided greater accessibility, especially for vulnerable residents.
- Tailored access arrangements, such as the Homelessness Hub in neighbourhoods, improved service delivery.
- Organisational change workshops supported the necessary transformations.
Evidence-based service offers enhancing the citizen experiences:
- Feedback mechanisms for customers were implemented, ensuring their voices were heard and considered.
- SMART working practices increased staff availability and flexibility.
- A new Neighbourhood Improvement Service was established, enhancing service offerings.
- Service redesign demand mapping and baseline assessments provided a solid foundation for future improvements.
Collaboration with the voluntary sector:
- Stronger relationships with anchor organisations, such as Tamworth Communities Together CiC and Heart of Tamworth, resulted in trusted partnerships.
- The council delivered a vulnerability strategy, mapping third-sector provision, and commissioned a Voluntary Sector Strategy and Well-being Strategy.
Regeneration and Place shaping to create growth and investment:
- Marmion House, a council property, was agreed upon for redevelopment, leading to future regeneration and investment opportunities.
- Economic and financial mapping of the local business economy post-Covid will inform regeneration and levelling up activities.
Reduce carbon footprint in line with Tamworth ambitions:
- The council implemented SMART working practices, reducing town center traffic and the carbon footprint.
- Refurbishment plans included options for green technologies and local procurement.
Celebrating our heritage and assets:
- The Town Hall was designated as the Council's Municipal Head Quarters, symbolising the council's commitment to its heritage.
- All formal council meetings are now held at the Town Hall.
Through our involvement, Tamworth Borough Council learned valuable project discipline and infrastructure. Internal and external audits conducted multiple times provided the council with essential feedback and recognition. The council has taken these learnings forward into their corporate projects, enhancing their overall project management capabilities.
In conclusion, our consultancy support and guidance played a crucial role in Tamworth Borough Council's Recovery & Reset Programme. The outcomes achieved included increased financial resilience, improved core and statutory services, enhanced citizen experiences, collaboration with the voluntary sector, regeneration and place shaping, carbon footprint reduction, and a celebration of heritage and assets. The council's commitment to learning and implementing best practices resulted in tangible benefits for the council and the community it serves.