Establishing a strategic approach and longer-term view of capital investment

The Assignment

31ten was brought in to assist the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea (RBKC) in reviewing their current capital programme and governance arrangements. The objective was to identify and build upon existing best practices and develop a Strategic Capital Programme Framework to enhance oversight of the Capital Programme, establish a more strategic approach, enable a long-term view of capital investment decisions, and align the programme to RBKC’s corporate priorities.

31ten worked closely with RBKC to address the identified opportunities for improvements and develop a structured governance framework together with a toolkit to improve oversight, decision-making, and strategic alignment of capital investments.

The Role

To successfully develop the Strategic Capital Programme Framework for RBKC, we undertook our work in five key stages:

  1. Inception & Data Collection – In the initial stage, we established the project’s ways of working by engaging with key stakeholders to ensure a shared understanding of project objectives, timelines, and deliverables. Simultaneously, we gathered and analysed all relevant data and information to gain a deeper understanding of the context and requirements surrounding RBKC’s capital programme.
  2. Discovery Phase – We conducted interviews, workshops, and a survey to gather input and insights from relevant stakeholders. This process allowed for a thorough examination of the existing capital programme’s strengths and weaknesses. A maturity assessment was conducted, highlighting the current capabilities of RBKC and identifying opportunities for improvements in six key areas. This was presented to RBKC in a ‘check and challenge’ workshop to agree the emerging recommendations to be developed in later stages.
  3. Developing a Governance Framework – Based on the findings of the maturity assessment, we developed a new Governance Framework for RBKC’s capital programme that aimed to address the identified shortfalls in the governance of the programme and establish a structured approach to decision-making and oversight. The Governance Framework outlined the roles, responsibilities, and processes required to effectively manage and monitor the capital programme.
  4. Capital Programme Alignment – To ensure seamless coordination between project delivery and capital programme management, we proposed a standardised delivery and programme management approach. This approach clearly defined the interface between project delivery and capital programme management. It aimed to streamline governance, establish clear reporting mechanisms, and ensure alignment of project objectives with the RBKC’s strategic objectives.
  5. Final Report + Toolkit – In the last stage, we compiled all the work undertaken throughout the project and presented it to RBKC in the form of a final report. The report summarised the findings, recommendations, and proposed solutions derived from the previous stages. Additionally, we provided a comprehensive toolkit that included documents, templates, and guidelines to support RBKC in the implementation of the recommended changes. The toolkit served as a practical resource for RBKC’s teams to effectively adopt and apply the new Strategic Capital Programme Framework.

Key Outcomes

In collaboration with key stakeholders at RBKC, we developed a framework and toolkit that brought about several key outcomes, aimed to enhance RBKC’s capital investment decision-making and overall programme management. The key outcomes to be achieved through this methodology and toolkit are:

  1. Capital investment decision-making – The developed framework and toolkit provide a structured and consistent approach to capital investment decision-making by defining clear criteria and weighting for evaluation of projects. RBKC should be able to assess and compare different investment opportunities objectively and make more informed decisions based on evidence and strategic alignment with corporate priorities.
  2. Strategic prioritisation – The framework and toolkit facilitate strategic prioritisation of capital projects enabling RBKC to evaluate projects based on their alignment with long-term goals and objectives. By considering the strategic fit of each project, RBKC can better allocate resources to initiatives that would deliver the greatest impact and support the Council’s overall vision.
  3. Medium and long-term capital needs – The framework and toolkit enable RBKC to capture and address medium and long-term capital needs more effectively. By taking a longer-term view, RBKC can plan and proactively allocate resources, ensuring that capital investments are aligned with the anticipated future needs and demands of the borough.
  4. Impact of capital decisions on revenue – Capturing and evaluating the impact of capital decisions on revenue through the developed framework and toolkit provides RBKC with a holistic view of the financial implications associated with capital investments. Considering factors such as return on investment, cost savings, and revenue generation potential, enables RBKC to do more comprehensive assessments of the financial viability and sustainability of each project.
  5. Visibility and oversight of the overall programme – With a standardised approach and a clear governance framework in place, visibility and oversight of the entire capital programme increased and RBKC can monitor and manage projects more efficiently. This enhanced visibility will allow the council to identify potential risks, track progress, and intervene when necessary, ensuring successful project delivery and mitigating any adverse impacts.

The framework alongside the toolkit, which includes a suite of documents and tools to support the practical recommendations related to governance, provides RBKC with the necessary resources and guidelines to implement and sustain the recommended changes effectively.