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Benefits Assurance


The Context

Nottinghamshire County Council (NCC) had recently established a Transformation Portfolio. At the time of review, NCC’s Transformation Portfolio consisted of three key programmes, with a total of 25 projects across the programmes.

A key challenge was understanding how projects were tracking and delivering financial and non-financial benefits and how this led to the delivery of the Nottinghamshire Plan.

The Requirement

Human Engine were commissioned to:

  • Review, further define and provide assurance for the deliverable benefits for each of the transformation programmes 

  • Establish a sustainable project benefits realisation framework to provide tools that can be used in future to deliver this work


The Programme

The Human Engine delivered the requirement across two phases. This enabled the team to use the findings of the assurance review to develop a tailored benefits realisations framework for the organisation.

Phase 1 – Benefits Assurance Review

The first phase consisted of a three month period in which we reviewed 25 existing transformation projects across many areas of the council, including Social Care and Commissioning. The team identified and quantified the performance of the existing projects, with a focus on the financial benefits, consolidating and further defining over £27m of savings. 

The team assessed the current performance of benefits identification and delivery, including the development of a benefits dashboard which summarised the performance of the Transformation Portfolio. This enabled a clear view of what benefits and outcomes were being targeted already, and which areas were not targeted with the current suite of projects. 


Phase 2 – Development of Benefits Assurance Framework and Toolkit

The second phase involved working with the wider Transformation team to develop a framework and toolkit to enhance the identification, agreement, tracking and management of the benefit process within projects.


Alongside findings from phase one, the team engaged with over 50 colleagues from across the transformation and change team, running a series of workshops and knowledge sharing sessions to inform the content and tools within the framework and toolkit that would be most beneficial to the council. The product was developed over a 3 month period, with emphasis on co-creation with colleagues from NCC who will be implementing and using the framework and tools in the future. 

The Outcomes

Across both phases of work, the Human Engine team delivered:

  • A comprehensive review of current benefits and assurance practices 

  • A series of six key themes and 12 recommendations to enhance identification, agreement, tracking and management of benefits 

  • A sustainable project benefits realisation framework, co-created with NCC colleagues for immediate ownership

  • Over 25 accompanying tools and templates to support the findings and recommendations and enhance benefits assurance across the council


The final product was delivered at a ‘launch’ event at the council’s offices. Feedback from council officers and project sponsors was positive:


  • “It was like a light bulb moment reading through the framework” 

  • “When I started at the Council 11 years ago, I wish we had something like this”

Project Sponsor:

"Human Engine worked with us through a period of lots of change and our annual budget setting cycle. This meant that a lot of the analysis phase of work was taking place whilst other things were moving / shifting at NCC. 

Human Engine's experience of working in this context meant that they were understanding of our situation, flexible in their approach and worked with us collaboratively to develop a helpful product that delivered important messages to the organisation in a way that was palatable and had helped us to progress and move forwards."

About Us

Human Engine is a Financial Times top-ranked management consultancy with specialisms in strategy, change, digital, commercial and projects.  

It was founded in 2018 with a belief that the public sector deserves better than it gets from traditional consulting firms – more human, more personal and more knowledgeable of the reality of delivering modern public services.

We have worked with dozens of public sector organisations to help transform their strategies, operations and cultures to be more agile, commercial and entrepreneurial in order to achieve financial sustainability and improved outcomes for customers and communities. 

Our mission is to help individuals and organisations to do the best work of their lives.  We do this by blending first-hand experience of the problems we help our clients solve with award-winning consulting expertise and an approach based on trust, collaboration and partnership. 

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