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ICO Target Operating Model


The Context

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) exists to uphold information rights in the public interest. In 2022, the ICO launched its new strategic plan: ICO25. The ICO25 plan seeks to reset the ICO’s purpose, values and form, meaning the way the regulator is perceived, organised and behaves must shift. Ultimately, ICO25 set a new direction of travel for the regulator, impacting its staff, the organisations it regulates, and members of the public. ICO25 can be summarised by the goal to ‘empower you through information’; a clear roadmap and target operating model were required in order for this vision to be successfully realised.

The Requirement

Human Engine were commissioned to support the development of the ICO’s new target operating model in line with its ICO25 ambition. The deliverables for the programme were as follows:

  • Development of a high level blueprint for the target operating model, supported by 1:1 meetings with the Information Commissioner and executive team.

  • Development of the target operating model setting out how the ICO will organise, manage and deliver its services and resources in order to deliver its strategy.

  • Production of a detailed quarter-by-quarter implementation plan to outline how the ICO will achieve its vision in practice.


The Programme

As part of the work, Human Engine worked with the ICO’s Strategic Change team to develop an outline programme, mapping the initiatives already underway as well as further activity required to develop the new target operating model. In addition, workshops were facilitated to confirm the design principles and clarify the strategy that would guide the target operating model’s development. This informed the development of the high level blueprint which validated the expectations of the executive team and identified the areas of detail to be developed with involvement from the wider organisation. In developing the target operating model, Human Engine worked with staff across the ICO in multidisciplinary working groups, combining Human Engine’s facilitation skills and knowledge of operating model design, with ICO expertise on good regulatory practice and the future of data regulation.

The Outcomes

The work conducted enabled the gap between the ICO25 strategy and practical delivery to be bridged. The target operating model described the transformation required, framed by the five shifts of approach agreed as part of the strategy clarification exercise. This transformation will mean a shift for employees, including agile case prioritisation, increased automated solutions and smart resource use. In addition, the target operating model set out the shift that the ICO’s customers and the public would see: customer-focused processes, jargon-free communication, and increased transparency, in order to deliver ICO25. The target operating model was then accompanied by a detailed implementation plan, including resource requirements, milestones and success indicators. The deliverables produced as part of this work equipped the ICO with the tools and framework needed to transform in line with their vision, and ultimately, to realise ICO25.

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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