Assets & Regeneration Transformation and Operating Model Review

The Assignment

31ten was commissioned to carry out an opportunity assessment of Dorset Council’s Asset & Regeneration (A&R) function in March 2022. We were extended beyond this first scope of work and continued to act as strategic advisers to A&R throughout 2023 and advise on efficiency, performance improvement and transformation.  

Dorset Council was formed in 2019 following the merger of six local authorities. The new Council brought together into one service a broad range of assets and operating practices that required significant transformation to create a single uniform operating model and delivery approach.

The purpose of the first phase of work was to assess the current maturity across the A&R function and identify key opportunities to ensure the service is aligned to support the Council’s new ambitions across the County. This work involved assessing the existing operating model, identifying consistent ways of working, and identifying opportunities to deliver significant savings (through disposal programmes, effective commissioning and new digital systems implementation) for the Council. 

In Phase 2 we provided senior advisory and strategy support including activity prioritisation, delivery & resource planning, change & transformation, support to the Council in their governance and decision-making processes. The most recent assignment in Phase 3 delivered a bespoke resourcing model to allow mapping of capacity in each of the core functions across A&R. 

The Role

Our maturity assessment applied a strategic, management, culture and OD lens to the service across the key domains of; strategy, people and structure, reputation and relationships, systems and process, and delivery and governance. This position was built up from desktop review, senior stakeholder and Member interviews, management team workshops, alongside external benchmarking of good practice. 

We then supported the leadership in the implementation of priority recommendations, with a focus on agreeing key findings and proposals through the Council governance and decision-making structure. The Phase 2 recommendations developed a new operating model for asset management focusing on delivering capital receipts by creating a bespoke unit focused on driving disposals forward, as well as a streamlined approach to capital project delivery moving from a “full service design and build” to a “development management” approach managing teams of design professionals.

Working with Service leads in Phase 3, we designed and built a resource model providing management insight as to the capacity and capability required in each part of the service for varying levels of demand. The team effectively broke down the service into its functional parts, identifying the role and function, and providing a time and cost estimate for delivering the functions. This allows greater insight into where time and resource was being spent, and enabled managers and leaders to assess the critical areas of focus for review. 

Key Outcomes

Phase 1: Recommendations for prioritisation including; compliance, rapid asset reviews and disposal, and development of an operating model alongside a restructure of the key service functions and management team.  

Phase 2: Demonstration of gap between Dorset’s capital programme aspirations and the capacity for in-house delivery or budget for outsourcing.  

Phase 3: Resourcing model to optimise resourcing and prompting further operating model design including review of in-house or outsourced delivery.