Case study: Facilitating NHS reorganisation

Applications of Clean, Clean in Business

Amicas case study: South East London Shared Services Partnership

The major reorganisation of health service delivery in South East London in 2002 led to the creation of a Shared Services Partnership (SELSSP) to provide non-clinical support services to Lambeth, Southwark and Lewisham Primary Care Trusts, the South East London Strategic Health Authority and a number of other NHS clients.

Six months into the new organisation, Patrick Boyle, Chief Executive of SELSSP, with key personnel in place, knew that in order to ensure the best possible service to clients, this brand new organisation needed to be able to work really effectively, efficiently and creatively. He decided to start at the top and commissioned Amicas to work with the Senior Management team, with a view to:

  • Developing strong working relationships, understanding and support across the management team
  • Creating a joint vision for the new organisation and its role within the partnership context within which it operated
  • Identifying strategic aims, corporate objectives and a strong, client-focused business plan

Amicas facilitated a series of workshops and individual coaching sessions with the directors from the management team over a period of around 9 months, including modelling of individual directors’ metaphors to elicit the nature and structure of their thinking.

As a result, the team have got to know each other at a deeper level.  They now know how others think and work, their strengths and weaknesses – and how to adapt to work well with other directors in the team. One of many consequences is the breakdown of some of the organisational boundaries – directors are becoming more involved in other areas and as a result there is more cross-functional interaction between people throughout the organisation.

Jules Arnould, Director of Corporate Services, joined the organisation during the process that Amicas had started. She commented of her experience: “It was really easy, as a newcomer, to integrate into an open and positive team.  The metaphors explored with Amicas gave me a real sense of what was important to the rest of the management team and gave me a language to communicate my needs to them.  And I got to know the other directors better as individuals.  Following a one-day team workshop with Amicas I could immediately tackle another director on the issues between our two functions and knew that I could be really direct.  We quickly sorted things out!”

Further, as a result of the vision and business planning work facilitated by Amicas, and the emergent thinking and strategy development, the SELSSP management team believe that they have been able to mature the organisation as a service provider. They, in partnership with their clients, have changed the operational model of the organisation to an agency approach. This has enhanced client relationships, led SELSSP to be more assertive with its clients and ultimately to deliver a better service.

Patrick Boyle says: “The work we did with Amicas has really has helped to bring the team together, and it’s opened people up in a way that probably wouldn’t be possible if we had gone down the traditional route of going away for a day and looking at objectives.  We would not have got under the skin of the dynamics of the directors as a group. We have learned a lot about ourselves, and learned to critically assess the performance of the team in a constructive way.

“These processes used by Amicas absolutely work. They have helped me to get to know people better and to know what makes them tick.  I have now bonded with members of my team who previously seemed quite different to me. Relationships between team members are much improved because they have felt able to open up. We have a better business plan, built using a balanced score card model, the directors feel ownership for it, and have the awareness of self and others to work as a team to ensure delivery. It’s very positive for me.“

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