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A new way of monitoring the progress of Council of the Future (COTF) priority projects was unveiled to Elected Members on Tuesday, 25 May.

At a meeting of the COTF Board, members were talked through a dashboard that provides a more visual and at-a-glance summary of project performance.

As well as listing savings made and those projected, the dashboard highlights where each project sits on the COTF gateway system, which was put in place following a review of the change programme.

Now all COTF projects - not just priority projects - need to systematically move through four gateways and can only do so once progress has been independently verified and approved.

The new system replaces the traditional traffic light approach previously used by project teams to record their own performance.

Stuart Ritchie, Senior Responsible Owner of the COTF change programme, said the new approach moves away from "people marking their own homework".

He said:

“The idea behind the gateways is to provide consistency and robustness across the whole of the change programme, including if projects are delivering to the required standards.”

Powering our priorities

Earlier this year the Powering Our Priorities (POP) Action Plan was launched behind the scenes to help speed up transformation, realise saving and deliver on our council priorities.

Supported by the experience of an external partner, PwC, the plan rolled out the gateway system to help project teams plan better, identify and overcome barriers earlier, join the dots between projects, and deliver lasting change.

Every project now must pass through four gateways:

  • Gateway 1 - Opportunity: identify opportunity for a project that clearly aligns with council priorities. Business case signed off by representatives including Programme Management Office, Finance, HR, and Procurement.
  • Gateway 2 – Develop: create a more detailed document - a Project Initiation Document - that includes milestones, service delivery benefits, and projected financial savings.
  • Gateway 3 – Implement: monitor progress against agreed milestones, planned savings, and benefits.
  • Gateway 4 – Close: project evaluated against objectives and formally closed before becoming business as usual.

Currently, there are 30 change projects within the Council of the Future programme, 29 are in Gateway 2 and one in Gateway 1.

Priority projects

Of the 30 projects, 10 are tagged as priority projects because they aim to deliver the most significant changes to how we deliver services as well as the greatest savings.

The priority projects are:

Communities

1. Closer to Communities with Community Choices

2. Closer to Home

3. Communities Shaping Falkirk's Future

4. Succeed Today, Excel Tomorrow

5. Transformation of Roads & Grounds

Enterprise

6. Climate Change

7. Employability

8. Investment Zone & Economic Recovery

Innovation

9. Digital Communities

10. Strategic Property Review

Stuart reminded the Board that the priority projects aim to contribute between “80% to 90% of the savings attributed to transformation”.

He said:

“Just over £3m worth of savings have already been agreed by members for 2021/22 and £11.5m of savings options have been identified for members to consider over the next five years.

“By far and away the largest contribution comes from Communities, which is not surprising given this is the workstream Succeed Today, Excel Tomorrow, Closer to Home, and other Children’s Service savings report into.”

The next meeting of the COTF Board takes place on 6 July.

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