Bath & North East Somerset Council & Peopletoo

Maximising efficiencies in estate management

Bath and North East Somerset Council were looking to analyse the effectiveness of its facilities management, maintenance, construction, business support and property investment activities, to make improvements and to assess whether they had the right level of resources and structure in place.

Recognising the need for an external appraisal, Bath and North East Somerset Council approached the Bloom marketplace to identify a supplier capable of delivering an insightful options appraisal and benchmarking capability to inform the future strategic decisions of the council.

Peopletoo were compliantly procured through NEPRO to utilise their expertise and identify innovative solutions that could create an efficient operating model going forward.

“The Bloom marketplace provided us with an effective route to market to collaborate with Bath and North East Somerset Council on this project. Our consultancy work will help Bath and North East Somerset reap the benefits of a more efficient management of the council’s estate.”
Peter Withers, Service Director, Peopletoo

The challenge

Bath and North East Somerset Council were looking at ways to improve the operation of their teams following the introduction of a new organisational structure. Teams were not working together well, in some cases, resources were stretched, processes had not been updated, and there was a need to provide more strategic value to the wider council agenda of productive places to work, sustainability, employee satisfaction and quality of delivery. The council had a significant capital works programme to reduce the backlog of maintenance and improve compliance across the estate.

In order to gain insight into the service, the council instructed Peopletoo to benchmark the current service, identify core and non-core activities and carry out an options appraisal to determine a future operating model that would meet desired financial, social and environmental outcomes. Peopletoo reviewed the current Construction, Maintenance, Property Investment, Business Support and Facilities Management Service with the aim of:

  • Benchmarking the structure and performance of the current service with best in class from the private and public sector. This established whether each function within the service was adequately resourced to deliver a safe, compliant and efficient property portfolio.
  • Identifying core and non-core activities based on the triple bottom line of financial return, social and environmental outcomes. This identified functions that required additional investment.
  • Appraising options for an alternative delivery models including SWOT analysis, assessment of structures, capacity and costs of each model.
  • Identifying the agreed operating model with a project plan for delivery following completion of an options appraisal.
  • Establishing cost improvements through the development of a Financial Improvement Plan.

The Solution

Peopletoo found an existing high degree of technical knowledge within the team, supported by pride in working for the council, examples of good practice and an estate with the potential to meet its stakeholders needs. Peopletoo also identified scope to drive greater value and service improvements. Key recommendations were developed into a project, service improvement, and financial plan. This included:

  • Restructuring the team to ensure it was better aligned to the delivery model and use of external contracts. This would enable more effective working and streamlined delivery, particularly in projects, facilities management and maintenance. It focussed on re-organising individual skills dispersed across the council into teams to manage workload and gain consistency.
  • Identified the need for a change programme to improve the team culture and encourage functions to act in a more collaborative way, take ownership and change profit focussed mindsets to being a support service to the council.
  • Proposed clarification of responsibilities, including ownership and structure of budgets. The current arrangement didn’t support accountability, cost control and asset return.
  • Suggested a re-alignment of resources to critical service functions including the compliance and energy sections to ensure an efficient and compliant estate.
  • Considering alterations to the current operating model prioritising a strategic approach to asset management and property strategy, through the appointment of a Strategic Asset Manager focussed on portfolio optimisation.
  • Recommended implementation of a Corporate Landlord approach to the management and strategic development of the estate.

The Outcome

Peopletoo’s expertise across council property and corporate landlord activities delivered several key benefits, these included:

  • Access to public and private sector benchmarks for a range of services including Hard and Soft Facilities management, staffing costs, and example Target Operating Models, which included policy and process information to ensure greater value for money generated across the asset portfolio.
  • Performance insights to develop cost and demand models for current and future requirements. Peopletoo assessed the council’s technology and compliance processes, and reviewed service specifications for external contracts.
  • Opportunities for process and resource improvements were highlighted to increase efficiency and quality of delivery. This would facilitate improvements to the management of assets throughout the portfolio and deliver maximum benefits to the council.

The initial review and presentation of the final report was completed over 8 weeks. A total of £724k in efficiency savings were identified as part of the financial improvement plan which equated to 7% savings in total.

However, it was recommended that if these savings were delivered, £250k should be re-invested back into the service to improve the overall operating model. For instance, the recruitment of a Strategic Asset Manager to increase the optimisation of property assets. Peopletoo also recommended an overall increase in the Construction, Maintenance, FM and Estates teams from 82 to 84 staff.

View PDF: People too Bath NES