LGA has been sponsoring a programme to pilot a leading edge approach to organisation design in local government.
The Decision Making Accountability (DMA) approach has an extensive track record in the private sector of designing efficient and effective organisations. Applying the DMA framework gives the opportunity to say that your council management structure is benchmarked against the likes of Tesco and Unilever.
The approach establishes the maximum number of management layers for any given organisation and the optimum design of accountability levels in different businesses or functions. The pilots have shown that the approach is flexible and can apply to the wide range of activities, functions and professions in local government.
A more efficient organisation design will save money – directly through ‘delayering' and indirectly through securing confident, timely decision-making, clear responsibilities and empowerment of leadership roles. But when you are looking to reduce costs by management restructure how do you know whether you are cutting into ‘fat' or ‘muscle'? Experience shows that applying the DMA framework will identify five to 20 per cent of cost savings in the leadership cost base and leave an organisation that is more productive, more agile, better at decision making, less frustrating to work for.
This is an approach that leaves the front line alone and concentrates on how management layers and value to the front line and to each other. One of the key tools in the approach is structured interviews from the front line up through the hierarchy to the chief executive. Integral to the approach is training and supporting people in the organisation to use the approach and build it into subsequent restructure and redesign exercises.
Croydon Council was one of the 4 Councils taking part in the pilot and here is a video highlighting some of the learnings from their experience.