As part of a consortium of management consultants, we were appointed in 2002 to support Northamptonshire Council’s leadership in its transformation strategy to recover from an Audit Commission rating of ‘weak’. Our specific role was to support the Transformation Director in developing a Performance Management Framework for the Council and drive its embedding across the Council’s operations and culture. Screen Shot 2014-11-03 at 18.11.48

When the Audit Commission returned in 2006 it was able to report significant improvement and progress. Its Report said:

“The Council’s reputation with local people and other key stakeholders is improving. All of the Council’s key strategic partners understand the overall strategic direction of the Council and recognise that services are getting better. Senior management capacity has been strengthened to enable a coherent corporate identity to be established and better services delivered.”

“The Council’s delivery framework has action plans attached to its 23 priority areas for improvement. Each of these plans sets out lead responsibilities, the actions required, the resource required for delivery, desired outputs and key milestones for delivery.“

“The Board and Cabinet have made clear their ownership of the ‘golden thread’ across priorities and objectives. Top level commitment by councillors and senior officers is evident and the chief executive and the leader have overall responsibility and accountability for council-wide performance. “

“Review cycles are timely, provide opportunities to take corrective action and then to monitor progress. There is a culture of open debate where targets for improvement are routinely challenged and under-performance is identified. The review process assesses whether services are achieving their stated performance targets; if these are not being delivered there is agreement on what remedial action is needed.”

“There is effective performance monitoring and analysis across much of the council. To support performance management, performance champions have been identified in each service to promote and sustain the performance momentum.”

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 The Council’s Transformation Director said of our work

“You clearly relished the transformational challenge this project presented, your energy and creativity and your focus on delivery provided a much needed injection of pace. You provided leadership and support to the network of ‘performance champions’ right across the organisation giving them the confidence to embrace the change and get things done. You acted as an invaluable sounding board for me, willing to give frank advice without fear or favour.”