London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham (LBHF) had significant savings targets to achieve and recognised that cutting services was not the only, or best, option to achieving these. With the option of operating commercially to deliver more efficient services or generate further income to diversify the budget base and reduce reliance solely on savings delivery, the council wanted to upskill its workforce.
The council recognised that to deliver more efficient service of income generation initiatives, investment had to be made in the skills of its workforce so that officers were equipped with the skills to use analyse a market and produce outline business cases. The council required Human Engine to deliver commercial training and workshop-style sessions with officers from across the council’s service areas.
Our team delivered a Commercial Trailblazer programme, designed to introduce officers to the foundations of commercial thinking and commercial skills in the public sector. This comprised of the team delivering Human Engine’s Establishing Commercial Acumen course from our Commercial Academy training programme to 100 delegates across five days. This course, specifically tailored to LBHF, focussed on introducing officers to the commercial skills, behaviours and tools needed to deliver the council’s business plan. Part 1 of the session identified these skills to delegates and took them through the process of how and when to use them. Part 2, the afternoon session, was specifically focussed on application, giving the delegates an opportunity to develop and outline business case.
The programme had planned to culminate in a ‘commercial hackathon’, however, this has been postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic. This would be a two-day event bringing together officers, Elected Members, partners, council suppliers, local businesses and local colleges and universities to develop the outline business cases developed by delegates during the training into full business cases and commercial projects.
Ideas included trading of corporate services, development of council owned assets, event space, process efficiencies for schools in their interaction with the council and use of cloud-based solutions.
During the training sessions and workshops, 18 outline business cases were developed using tools and techniques taught during the training, with the plan to have taken six to the hackathon for further development
92% of delegates rated the course good or excellent for meeting the stated learning objectives
9/10 rated the course good or excellent for the usefulness of the course content
95% said they can practically apply the course learning to their daily work
9/10 rated the pacing of the course as ‘just right’
92% said they would recommend this course to a colleague
Human Engine is a Financial Times top-ranked management consultancy with specialisms in strategy, people and performance.
It was founded by a group of former local government officers who think 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 local people and communities.
We are currently writing our latest report, The Commercial Edge, in partnership with leading think tank Localis, making the case for entrepreneurialism in public services and local investment as a catalyst for economic recovery and growth.