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People are what they learn. Culture in its broadest sense is cultivated behaviour through socially learned, accumulated experience. Workplace culture is the character and personality of an organisation, comprising of leadership, values, traditions and beliefs, and the behaviours and attitudes of the people in it.

We often find that many mechanisms, processes, and activities connected to the employees’ experience at work impact the overall culture of the workplace. Working closely with public sector organisations BetterGov are able to support the creation of positive workplace culture through investigation, engagement and empowerment. Having a positive workplace culture is vital to delivering high-quality services to the public, whilst appreciating the cost benefits from improved internal processes and employee retention.

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​Across the Public Sector, because of its flexibility and evolutionary nature, implementing Agile is increasingly becoming popular for software development and project management. BetterGov's Agile consultants are experienced in delivering projects through the use of different methodologies (Scrum, DSDM, Kanban etc.), all of which are based on the concepts of flexibility, transparency, quality, and continuous improvement. To meet the various levels of Agile maturity within the organisation, BetterGov is able to provide Agile support through a number of engagement options, from Agile coaching through to Agile project management and Agile team training.


Change​ and Transformation

Delivering and managing change in the public sector is difficult and constantly evolving. Public services are fraught with complexity and often provide support to some of the most vulnerable people in society. BetterGov strongly believes in co-creating a solution with our clients, and through a people-centric approach, we are able to achieve sustainable results as people own what they create. Each organisation involved in a transformation is likely to have distinct strengths, gaps in capabilities and potentially conflicting motivations. We help clients navigate these key issues within culture, coordination and capabilities through transparent internal review, building change leadership skills and nurturing capability from the front line to the executive board.​

New Ways of Working

​In one form or another, New Ways of Working (NWoW) has always had its place on a number of the standard '5-year Digital Strategy' documents found in the Public Sector. Not surprisingly, employing nearly 17% of the UK workforce, public sector organisations required a rapid change in approach to standard ways of working, in order to successfully manage the response to COVID. Throughout this period BetterGov has successfully supported our clients manage this change through the introduction of flexible working methods, developing new processes and policies, refining organisational structures and utilising digital solutions to swiftly enable and embed change.

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Training and Development

BetterGov has been creating and successfully delivering training and development solutions for public sector clients ever since our inception. Over the years, we have developed a suite of solutions to support both specific end-user technology and systems training (such as Microsoft 365, Health Information Systems, Case Management Systems etc.) as well as non-technical training (such as Agile, Recruitment and Retention, Change Management etc.).

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BetterGov is proud to have successfully supported key transformational programmes across Public Sector, delivering sustainable outcomes and creating true value through internal capability development.

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8 Steps to Cost-effective Digital Service Delivery by Leveraging Trusted Relationships

Building trusted relationships and fostering a collaborative environment between clients and vendors in Digital Service delivery is at the forefront of every project we deliver here at BetterGov. Like a hand in a glove, cost optimisation is the 'all leading' compass dial. We know that this leads to affordable and sustainable changes that are useful and trusted by our clients. By doing what we do and doing it well, we aim to progressively minimise our role, instil confidence, and empower independent progress with robust support throughout the process. Throughout the BetterGov service delivery journey, we continuously prioritise these eight core elements Engage and understand key stakeholders Clearly define outcomes Create a one-team culture Active engagement by the Service Owner Internal capability development Regular standups and show-and-tell Shift left and shadowing  Seamless handovers 1 | Engage and Understand Key StakeholdersTrusted relationships hinge on essential principles. Early collaboration in various formats and an unwavering commitment to working closely with the key stakeholders significantly enhance the chances of success. Establishing early relationships between us and the team responsible for running the service helps anticipate and prepare for its integration into their processes. Or, more importantly, strong relationships with senior stakeholders ease challenges when they arise – no delivery is perfect. By spending the time, care and attention to understand our executives' challenges, providing a supportive ear, and genuinely engaging on both the human and professional levels, we build trust that can be relied upon at times of need and in the years to come.  ​2 | Clearly define outcomesDuring the contracting phase, defining clear outcomes is crucial. Recognising that these outcomes may evolve as the project progresses through various phases of digital delivery according to the Service Standard. Trust cultivated in the early stages significantly improves the potential for successful outcomes. A ‘Definition of Done’ at inception is critical – this will always be the key measure by which the delivery will be judged and will be the crux of the committed outcome.  While delivery itself will be done in an agile fashion, following the GDS Service Standard, with regular demonstration of how the product is evolving, the Definition of Done ensures that everyone is aiming for the same target. Vital user research at the Discovery phase and ongoing throughout delivery effectively informs the Definition of Done. It provides the business with regular feedback so that they can see how the product evolves to deliver business outcomes.  3 | Create a one-team cultureWe ensure no distinction between the clients and vendor partners in all our engagements. Regardless of affiliation and paymaster, each team member checks that badge at the virtual door and wears the metaphorical client armband. This ensures that the teams behave in a unified manner and that all parties actively engage in a mutually agreed collaborative culture. Where possible, at the start of any engagement, we propose workshops across all team members to build an effective covenant and trust between team members. This ensures that a collaborative culture develops that is trust-based and mutually respectful, with all members focused on delivering the business and technical outcomes  ​4 | Active engagement by the Service OwnerEffective outcome delivery can best be done through a committed Service Owner. The Service Owner is responsible for the end-to-end service, including business and operations, which is larger than the technical delivery and outcomes. Sitting between business, technology delivery, and operations, the Service Owner ensures that the company remains informed throughout the product evolution while ensuring that the operations teams understand how to support the new product in service. ​5 | Internal capability developmentEarly in the engagement, BetterGov works with client stakeholders, the Service Owner in particular, to identify potential gaps in capability. By design, when the product is handed over, BetterGov will hand over the entire solution to civil servants. We ask fundamental questions – do the civil servant team members understand the technology and delivery methodologies? Is there capability to support the product once the vendor team completes its work?  Does the support team have the right infrastructure to improve the product continually? In asking these questions, we create a matrix with the client on where teams need upskilling. For example, if developers aren't entirely comfortable with the chosen development language, we pair them with our developers until they are comfortable. If methodologies are not aligned, we will ensure workshops are in place to get everyone on board.  Our main goal is to ensure that when we leave a project, the civil servant team feels they have received more than an excellent deliverable and that they have improved their personal and professional skills as a result of their engagement with BetterGov. ​6 | Regular Standups and Show-and-TellsIt comes as no surprise that all BetterGov deliveries primarily follow the GDS Service Standards. Of the guidance on agile principles and ways of working, we are particularly keen on the tenet "Go see for yourself." By regularly participating in Show-and-Tells, key stakeholders at all levels remain aligned, and the product can be stress tested. Business users and the service owner get regular insight into the product and whether it will achieve the desired outcomes.  Ongoing user research is key to ensuring that what's being built is what the users need and that a feedback loop can be fostered back to the business through this mechanism. By fostering – and insisting upon – this level of openness and transparency, trust and collaborative culture continues to evolve. 7 | Shift Left and ShadowingOften, there are different civil servant teams doing product delivery and operations, especially in a vendor-heavy engagement. Keeping on the theme of one-team, the delivery team actively engages with the operations team throughout the delivery lifecycle, even from the early discovery phase.  Operations and support are users, too, and their needs must be considered from the outset to have a successful service, so user research must be done on how the new service will integrate into a support organisation.  As delivery progresses into private beta, it's key to second a technologist from the support organisation into delivery, ensuring that there is core technical knowledge early in the support lifecycle. They can provide valuable insight into how technical decisions potentially impact the support teams. The term for this approach is 'shift left', bringing people in from the end of a delivery cycle much earlier. Similarly, as part of our delivery, some staff will 'shift right' and embed with the operations team for a time after the product is delivered. This approach is both a 'shadowing' concept, letting the support team fully upskill while having the product delivery team available if needed, as well as advice. For example, how will the support team evolve the service after it's deployed. ​8 | Seamless HandoversSuccessful implementation of the core delivery phases, especially considering the above points, leads to a seamless service handover and happy staff. Especially toward the end of public beta and as the service prepares to enter the live service, the extra support as part of shift left and shadowing ensures successful delivery.   We know that if we do all these things properly, especially setting ourselves up for success at the outset, civil service colleagues can take the service live – pain-free. We will have the satisfaction that not only was the delivery successful but that we have left the client environment, as well as individual civil service team members, in a better place. And that we are no longer needed. ​That's ultimately what we're about; we're BetterGov. ​​Authored by David Lewis, strategic lead at BetterGov. "I've been working in digital transformation with His Majesty's Government on and off for several years. I've been on both the buyer and supplier sides of the equation.  I've seen digital services supported by vendors go phenomenally well, just as I have seen trainwrecks – both in the bidding process and in active delivery" – David Lewis

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Developing Internal Capabilities

​​An Executive Agency (EA) of the UK government based in Wales and on the South and East Coast of England was going through a large Digital Transformation programme where they were building out their own capabilities in order to manage the reorganisation and move back in-house from a largely outsourced service. This saw the introduction of several different new services including, 24/7 IT Service Desk, Technical Architecture and Service Design, Delivery Management, PMO and a new Data team. In order to manage these services internally, the EA needed to increase internal capability, however they struggled with recruiting permanent staff as a result of their locations, below-market salaries and losing potential candidates as a result of their cumbersome and disjointed recruitment process.Working with the ICT and Digital department, supported by Human Resources, we identified the challenges faced by the EA. Salaries offered proved to be challenging, as well as finding local talent (within commutable distance to the offices) with the desired skill sets (i.e. Technical Architect). A further challenge we faced was the resourcing and onboarding process which often involved 2 stages and a panel of interviewers, resulting in limited availability of internal staff for interviews and for providing feedback.In order to overcome the identified challenges, our focus was to engage with candidates who were within commuting distance of the HQ and wanted to enjoy the lifestyle balance offered as opposed to commuting to London. Therefore, the extra time and flexible working pattern was the payoff for the reduced salary in comparison to the remuneration offered by London based departments. Coupled with the offer of being a part of a growing function that provided learning opportunities and potential for progress/promotion helped overcome the salary challenge. Our analytical software proved to be valuable in mapping specific skill sets within the local labour market and giving us insight into which local companies we were competing with in regard to talent attraction, and which candidates were commuting to London for work. Through continuous improvement meetings with the key stakeholders, we managed to reduce the time to hire and onboarding process by 30% and achieved a fill ratio of 90% of all resourcing requirements within the agreed phased delivery (i.e. 3 months for phase 1 and 3 months for phase 2).​Specialist skill sets successfully resourced: Technical Architects, Network Architect, Delivery Managers, Service Desk Analyst, Service Desk Team Lead, Service Transition Managers, Service Design Leads

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Sheer determination leading to innovation – Liquidlogic LAS / ContrOCC Implementation

How do you deliver a social care case management system implementation in the height of a pandemic? How do you keep the project plan on track and in budget without sacrificing quality when almost the entire organisation is working remotely and the project team have limited access to staff from the business?Solution:Firstly, you need extensive experience in social care delivery. Secondly, you need an ability to work creatively and to innovate. Finally you need hard work and sheer determination to find a way past all the obstacles put in your path on a daily basis.Supporting the implementation of a new adult social care case management system, Liquidlogic LAS / ContrOCC , covering every single aspect of the directorate’s social care and financial recording, including multiple interfaces and portals in a single, ‘big bang’ Go Live was always going to be a challenge.The BetterGov project team had to figure out a way to continue to undertake data migration testing and configuration design and testing for the final two rounds of UAT, plus complete dry run testing and go live itself with minimal input from the business.Then there was the small matter of 700 staff to train on the new system and support through Go Live and Early Life…Our solution? Harness available technologies to come up with creative alternatives. To start with, we established fairly quickly in the Configuration and Testing Workstreams that staff worked best when using MS Teams in small groups and in shorter sessions. We were able to focus work with a small group of specialist staff, working around their availability and in short development sprints.Training was modelled on the same approach. Short bursts designed in way to give staff maximum opportunity to learn. Where before, staff would have been asked to attend traditional all day classroom training in groups of 6 to 10 people, we put together a huge programme of specialist short interactive, hands-on training courses via MS Teams. Close to a 1,000 training events were delivered in 1.5 or 2 hour long bitesize sessions comprising of a maximum of 3 delegates and a specialist LAS trainer. This approach gave us a wide-ranging programme of specialist courses for each different part of the business. On top of this, we offered an e-learning package to cover the basics of navigation and generic case recording, which staff were able to undertake in their own time as often as they required prior to and after go live.We delivered the entire training programme in a training window which spanned just over 3 weeks, wrapped around Go Live, maximising the likelihood of staff remembering and consolidating their learning.However, it was Early Life Support for the new systems which provided the greatest challenge.Prior to the pandemic, staff would have been sat next to each other in an office, offering support and help to their colleagues who struggle with a new system. Nominated ‘Super Users’ and staff who just ‘GET IT’ would have provided invaluable support for more gentle system users and, normally, after a period of a few weeks or months, the system would bed in and become second nature.So how could we replicate that type of support structure? We barely had any super users as the business was so stretched it was difficult even to recruit and train them. Those staff who had been helping in design and testing were suddenly unavailable, back to the ‘day job’ as the organisation understandably diverted all efforts to frontline activities. We found ourselves with hardly any super users and 90% of staff ‘home alone’ without colleagues on hand to answer their queries.Our solution was to try and replicate support using different technologies, all of which are widely available to most public sector bodies without additional procurement:We set up dedicated MS Teams sessions for key service areas – some all-day drop-in sessions where staff could join at any point, some as part of team meetings where we had a captive audienceWe used the Office 365 Booking App to allow staff to book dedicated 15 or 30 minute slots with a project team memberWe created a series of online videos using MS Stream within MS Teams and uploaded them to organisations intranet alongside traditional written guides and a FAQFinally we provide a dedicated Helpdesk which would manage queries logged on the Council’s IT Tech Support Portal or through a dedicated mailboxWe also provided targeted 1-2-1 support to users with assistive technology, senior managers and staff identified as needing dedicated support throughout the training programme and during Go LiveIt’s fair to say it’s been a hugely successful outcome; these new ways of working have not only improved the quality of work and associated outcomes they have also created visibility and ‘levers’ to quickly redeploy capacity as required.

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Discovery Audit and Procurement Support

London Borough of Croydon (LBC) needed to better understand their current landscape of service needs, organisation strategy and implementation delivery structure prior to procuring a new Adult’s Social Care System. Having successfully delivered System Implementation Audits for Social Care Systems in a number of Local Authorities nationwide, BetterGov were appointed by Croydon as a trusted partner to deliver a detailed discovery analysis, including a comprehensive migration assessment and provide recommendations.LBC was forced to consider a replacement for their incumbent Adult’s social care system (SWIFT / AIS) as the software vendor (Northgate Public Services) made the decision to exit the social care systems market and gave notice to all their clients. As a result of limited in-house capabilities, the Borough sought specialist guidance to provide a detailed analysis and recommendations in order to successfully select and implement a new case management system. Upon initial investigation, BetterGov identified that migration from the legacy case management system would incorporate the data migration of two additional systems, NHS CRS and Information@Work, which were also to be included in the discovery audit in order to guide both the procurement and implementation process. Working with key service area stakeholders and system users, coupled with BetterGov’s intrinsic knowledge of case management systems, we were able to provide Croydon with business-critical information to ensure both effective procurement and also successful implementation of a new Social Care System. Due to the high level of detail and quality of the diagnostic audit, the LBC were able to go out to a competitive tender with a full specification of requirements needed to appoint a fit-for-purpose and best value for money case management system. Equally essential, BetterGov’s analysis report highlighted the Councils technical skills gap and also detailed recommendations on system integration options, associated implementation costs, business requirements, timeframes, and delivery and governance structure of the migration and integration process.As a result of commissioning BetterGov’s Discovery Audit and Procurement support services, the LBC had assurances that key decisions made for both procurement and implementation delivery of a new Adult Social Care System were supported by complete and credible information.“BetterGov’s knowledge in complex system migrations from multiple systems within Social Care, Education and Housing proved invaluable to Croydon. We were given the confidence to finalise our procurement approach, organisation strategy and delivery structure to implement a new fit-for-purpose system.”​

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Delivery Partner - Systems Implementation

A Channel Island Authority embarked on a programme of reform and change aimed at redesigning service, culture and working practices. Central to this transformation and development was the replacement of their incumbent system with a single care record case management system. In order to successfully implement the new system and migrate the respective data over from the legacy system, the Authority required both specialist skills and additional resource to manage and govern the full end-to-end implementation. Being part of the Channel Islands presented a number of challenges due to the location and ability to source the specialist skills required. Due to the complexity of limited in-house capability and an aggressive implementation timescale, the leadership team took the decision to go to market with the aim of engaging the services of a specialist consultancy to drive the implementation process forward.BetterGov partnered with a prime contractor to deliver a unique and compelling proposition, illustrating our strength of experience and depth of knowledge to deliver this highly critical end-to-end programme of work. Following a very competitive tender process and successful award, the implementation team for Phase One were deployed and on island. Following the agreed implementation plan, the team made an immediate and positive impact, working closely with key stakeholders and managing business change from the current state to the ‘optimal’ future date. The team successfully delivered the respective phases of the project, from mobilisation and planning to requirement specification, data cleansing and migration, build and configuration, testing and training. Providing a truly flexible approach to resource utilisation, not only was the system implementation successful and delivered in the agreed timeframe, but also the most cost-efficient route to go live. Our success was underpinned by understanding that the Authority required a partner not only to assist in the technical transition from existing systems but also to add value to ways of working and improve outcomes for both staff and residents of the island.With an impressive turnaround time of 10 months from contract award to go-live, BetterGov deployed 17 named consultants through delivery and achieved 100% successful implementation on time and within budget.​Skill areas deployed within the solution included: Programme Director; Project Management; Business Analysis; Systems Analysis, Data Migration; Systems Configuration and Integration, Testing, Application Support and Training.

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