About Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council
Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council is growing and transforming to deliver an ambitious council plan whilst keeping residents, businesses, and communities at the heart of everything they do.
The council serves a population of approximately 178,000 across 18 wards and has set an ambitious and aspirational shared vision to ensure that residents have high quality homes, jobs, leisure, and community facilities for decades to come.
Like many other councils, Basingstoke and Deane has multiple programmes and projects running in tandem, from those concerning digital transformation to climate emergency. In addition, the council is also facilitating several larger development opportunities to better cater for both local and prestigious businesses within the area, as well as beginning a village-style housing development for residents.
What was their challenge?
Basingstoke and Deane previously applied a basic approach to project management based on Prince 2, utilising common tools such as Excel and Word to document and report programme and project progress.
This was not always applied effectively, leading to inconsistencies when reporting, planning, and controlling projects. As the number of programmes and projects increased and grew in complexity, so did the necessity for a more comprehensive, standardised, centralised, and transparent programme and project management approach.
The need for delivering consistently formatted, regular highlight reports to corporate programme board was increasing. These began as Word documents on SharePoint, then through to Excel spreadsheets, so a systematic reporting method needed to be found, agreed on and understood by all stakeholders involved.
What was the solution?
In 2019 with a new director in place, amongst other new staffing changes, the council recognised the need to establish a Corporate Programme Management Office (CPMO) to standardise programme and project project-related governance processes and facilitate the sharing of resources, methodologies, tools, and techniques, supporting the Council and providing assurance to senior leaders and members.
The Transformation and Improvement team transitioned into the CPMO, undertaking a review of current PM approach and generating a road map to centre of excellence. This led to the creation of a new CPMO framework, approach documents and techniques based on APM methodology.
The council identified early on that bringing in a proprietary project management tool would help support and reinforce the newly established CPMO framework, so an initial phase of research via the digital marketplace, including demos, calls and further exploratory work began to find the right system.
After review of three similar software systems, Verto was the best match for Basingstoke and Deane’s Project Management tool requirements. It also appealed to the CPMO team with its capabilities including single sign-on, the flexibility to configure the system to align to the newly created CPMO framework and the reporting for transparency of progress to senior leaders and members.
With Verto, the council and their managers have complete control over the projects and programmes they are running. The Governance processes built in are easy to use and made sense for their move into the APM style of project management, which was one of the main drivers of Verto’s success with Basingstoke and Deane. Finally, the report creation via Verto was both cost effective and easy to generate.
“We’ve had tremendous cooperation from the report-writing team, and the support team throughout our entire journey”Martin Coles, Project Manager, Basingstoke, and Deane Borough Council
With the initial platform in place, it soon became apparent that the system was going to need to grow as various new pieces of work surfaced that required additional innovation using Verto features for the CPMO to deliver effectively.
Plans for the future
Verto is a system that has been allowed to grow and expand as the council has needed, with incremental additions being added or developed specifically for them as required. It has got to a stage where the development side of the work is well in advance of the deployment side but by being ahead of the curve, when there becomes an immediate need for a new piece of functionality, it is often the case that the tool is already developed ready to be taken advantage of.
Originally, Basingstoke and Deane opted for basic controls around stage gate governance for project and programme management, along with highlight reporting and were just considering performance management tools. However now with a dedicated team in place, they are looking to expand their use of Verto and are looking to build on the existing performance management tool to create a bespoke option to enable the council to achieve their aims.
The team at Basingstoke and Deane still have lots of innovative ideas for scaling up their platform features like benefits management and dependencies. The CPMO team are now ensuring everyone in the team are knowledgeable in Verto configuration, by developing a set of training manuals and training sessions, making sure the system is providing the data and flow of information in the way people have come to expect and stakeholders are used to seeing.