Commercial Transformation & Mobilisation Programme: Local Authority Trading Company
- The Authority out-sourced its waste, street cleansing, green spaces, transport and building services to a private contractor under a long-term agreement, almost ten years ago.
- The private contract was not delivering the Council’s objectives. Following an options appraisal, the Council decided to terminate the contract and set up a Teckal compliant Local Authority Trading Company (LATCo) to take over delivery of services. The LATCo’s aims were to give the Authority control over the delivery of services whilst growing commercial revenues to offset the cost.
- Sales Nova was engaged three months before the termination date of the private contractor and the transfer of service delivery to the LATCo. During this time a complex mobilisation of £10m of public services was required, comprising:
- TUPE transfer and induction of 400 employees;
- specification, testing & implementation of replacement ICT and in-cab systems as the out-going contractor used bespoke private systems;
- re-engineering of processes interacting with other Council departments and their re-training to use replacement ICT systems;
- continuity of management and performance reporting systems;
- purchase or novation of vehicles, plant & equipment under contract;
- renewal of supplier & sub-contractor contracts;
- a range of legally required Operating Licenses and Permits;
- the need for excellent communication and engagement with all employee, public and Council stakeholders.
- The governance structures and Business Plan for the new LATCo had to be put in place in parallel.
- Sales Nova was appointed by the Authority’s CEO to lead a safe, robust transfer & mobilisation of high-profile public services from the private contractor to the LATCo.
- Sales Nova was asked to review the Business Plan for the LATCo to ensure it created sound commercial footings, with the aim of realising operational efficiencies and growing profitable commercial revenues to offset the cost of delivering public services to residents.
- A rapid review and diagnosis of the scope and scale of mobilisation requirements was undertaken, clearly showing the need to increase available time and resources fully to specify and implement all requirements or a successful transfer of services to the LATCo.
- A phased transition was negotiated with the outgoing contractor, starting on the original mobilisation date and concluding three months later, mitigating risks due to the short deadline.
- Backed by the Authority’s CEO, a Programme Management Office (PMO) was created, with overall leadership by a Sales Nova consultant. Existing project and change management resources within the Council were reassigned to the PMO and specialist external resources engaged to support Health & Safety, ICT and Operational system workstreams, to ensure full identification and delivery of project work requirements.
- A daily review of programme status, the risk register and risk mitigation actions ensured full transparency and agile decision making for the Council Executives, Council Members and the Programme Team.
- Advice was given on effective governance structures and strategic vision / objectives for the LATCo, so as to protect the Authority’s interests and statutory obligations whilst creating the environment for a business improvement and business development culture to thrive.
- A realistic timeline was established for the stabilisation, improvement and growth phases of the LATCo following completion of mobilisation. The attributes of key personnel and the strategic objectives for each phase were set out and incorporated into the Business Plan.
- A brand was developed for the LATCo, designed to link to the City’s heritage so as to be meaningful to residents, but not to impede the ability to trade in other geographical areas.
- A safe, smooth transfer & mobilisation of services was delivered within budget, with a positive profile for the Council and residents.
- Employees morale was significantly improved through the transition.
- The first financial & operational results of the new LATCo were delivered.
- The Business Plan was reviewed and passed by Cabinet without changes.
- The governance structure was agreed, with a Cabinet Shareholder Committee reviewing the LATCo Board quarterly, and the Articles of Association and Terms of Reference of the Board approved.
A Board of Directors was put in place, with Non-Executive Council Members and Officers, an Executive Operations Director as acting Managing Director, and an interim Finance Director. Recruitment of the Managing Director commenced.