Resource optimisation in Norwich


by Andy Jess, CIPFA Associate

Like many local authorities Norwich City Council was searching for an approach to deliver more with less without increasing the risks of compromising quality of service delivery. Norwich had already made significant savings over the previous three years but many of the obvious options had been fully explored – something different would be required. I was commissioned by the council to try a new approach for Norwich: resource optimisation.

The key to resource optimisation is engaging with the people who deliver. I facilitated a workshop in which team leaders and their team members worked together to apply their own experience, judgement and expertise in a three step analytical framework:

  1. they focused on the work that needed to be done and assessed its relative importance.
  2. participants assessed discretion to identify where team leaders have choices about what they must deliver.
  3. they evaluated options for exploiting technology to enable smarter working practices.

And it worked. By using resource optimisation, Norwich was able to deliver savings of £5.9 million pounds for the 2012-2013 year.

But this wasn’t the only advantage of resource optimisation. The workshops were extremely efficient: an entire service area would be evaluated in a one-day workshop.

Most importantly, by involving the people who actually delivered the services in the discussions, we were able to make decisions that were more supported internally and better informed in terms of preserving value for the customer.