What challenge(s) do our clients face?
The public sector is comprised of many different entities, realities and objectives, but there are common challenges driven by political turnover, limited resources and a more rigid budget.
The Public Sector is a broad term for an industry made of many different players. Over the past 25 years, we have worked with NGOs, public bodies (such as hospitals and education institutions) and directly with governments, tackling a range of technical needs in different geographies.
While the specific needs of each client depend very much on their context and role in society, there are common challenges that we see across the Public Sector:
- Mid-term focus: Many countries run election cycles of ~4 years, with key members of political parties facing replacement at this regularity and as such, changes in directive. As a result, we have often seen that there is a challenge in implementing complex transformational projects – driving long-term thinking, maintaining buy-in across key stakeholders, and guaranteeing the necessary resources.
- Limited resources and need for consensus: Typically, all public sector entities work on a constrained budget and with limited resources, which must be divided between different causes and teams based on urgency and buy-in. This creates an extensive decision-making process, as there is a need to build consensus across a wide number of stakeholders over time and secure support, even before the project can go ahead.
- Friction or limited experience working with consultancies: Within some political spheres, in some countries we have worked in, the use of an external service providers with a market-oriented mindset, can seem incoherent with particular beliefs or public image. Even though this could lead to savings in the long run, and relieves human resource pressure internally, it can create a difficult entry angle to begin building collaboratively.
How do we help?
Our combination of technical specialists and understanding of how to navigate the public sector enables us to build consensus, traction and deliver results.
Beyond the complexities of the environment, the technical needs and individual contexts vary widely throughout the public sector. With our deep expertise across disciplines and understanding of how to navigate in different political and geographical realities, we enjoy supporting teams to drive long term change. We bring to our clients:
Technical depth and specialized teams: Our structure of working in practices with tried-and-tested methodologies allows us to combine the necessary technical ingredients to deliver end-to-end solutions. We are able to understand the specificities and needs of a situation, and leverage subject matter experts and best practices from industry to develop a robust and tailor-made approach.
Unbiased opinion, with understanding of your reality: As an external partner, we are positioned to give a recommendation based on data and real-world evidence, initially without considering political decisions. Once we develop a technical recommendation, we can adjust them to the political environment, knowing the impact of each one of the adjustments on the recommendation. This provides our clients with the knowledge to define the best path for both your immediate context and longer-term objectives.
Collaborative building to generate buy-in: We engage the team at all levels to generate buy-in from the start, ensuring all knowledge is captured and expectations are levelled, to build effective solutions with consensus and backing from those who will lead the day-to-day.
Guaranteeing long-term viability: Beyond the technical recommendation, we work with the team who will lead the implementation to create a clear plans, mapping all activities, timelines and roles and responsibilities clearly to facilitate execution and monitoring, right through until the new model or reality has stabilized. We ensure everything is clearly documented, enabling handovers in case of team changes, and a baseline for future waves.
Integration’s track record in the Public Sector crosses geographies and clients; from governments and public bodies to NGOs. A selection of recent clients includes:
In 2013, The Department for International Trade (DIT, formerly UKTI) was facing a challenge to promote Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) into the UK from emerging markets. Ranked second place in Europe behind Germany and with on the ground coverage limited to only the largest countries, the DIT decided to outsource the FDI operation for mid-sized emerging countries to management consultancies.
Integration was awarded the Latin America contract (with the exception of Mexico and Brazil). Our extensive network in the wider region, entrepreneurial spirit, and robust methodologies provided the right platform for an immediate start. The support over the engagement was delivered in phases; set up and pilot of the model; the confirmation of market interest and consolidation; and finally the creation of a sustainable operation.
Within two years, Latin America became the fastest growing FDI generation region in all DIT operations; projects rose by 240%. More than £100 million was invested and over 200 new jobs have been generated in the UK as a result. In addition, there has been a marked increase in awareness and engagement from DIT to explore opportunities in Latin America.
From a selection of more than 1,000 projects, with 60 finalists spread across 25 categories, Integration was honored with two awards in 2017 from the prestigious Management Consultancies Association (MCA) for the delivery of this project. In partnership with DIT, Integration won Best Change Management Project in the Public Sector, and also the highly coveted Best Project of 2017!
State Secretaries of Education and specific NGOs supporting Public Education in Brazil asked for support from Integration in the expansion of Full-Time Education (FTE) model in multiple Brazilian states. Compared to standard Part-Time Education, FTE is significantly more expensive, requiring additional infrastructure to increase not only capacity in the network, but provide amenities such as libraries and canteens. The challenge was how to design a model that fitted the reality of each state to ensure adoption and optimize costs of expansion to meet local investment restrictions.
Integration worked together with NGOs and government stakeholders to balance the equation through examination of both halves: first understanding the reality of each state – the current model in place, education KPIs, and local budget for investment – and second the cost of converting current PTE schools to FTE – using a tailor-made simulator considering local restrictions and directives. By combining the objectives and needs per state with the cost of implementation in that specific context, we could prepare different expansion scenarios together with the Client team to meet the target within budget, and detail out a full implementation plan for the chosen option to ensure feasibility, tracking, and targets for execution.
Together with stakeholders from both the government and NGOs, we defined a clear scenario to meet expansion targets in a way that respected local needs and priorities, and budget restrictions. We detailed all necessary actions required to reduce cost and capture earnings – for example, modelling the optimal class organization to minimize the number of professors – and ensured the government responsible parties were well-prepared to implement changes. We generated buy-in from key individuals to ensure the longevity of the project and supported the local team to understand and drive the implementation plan over the coming years.
In a state of Brazil, the set-up time for new businesses had been steadily increasing and had reached around 500 days for organizations requiring specific licenses related to health surveillance, environmental practice and fire safety.
In comparison, other Brazilian states had processes lasting less than 30 days. With this disparity, the state was losing organizations to neighboring states, and generating dissatisfaction with local entrepreneurs. Integration was asked to support in reducing the process to 30 days, with the wider objective of becoming a reference in Brazil as a whole.
We began by mapping the end-to-end process, identifying the stages which required a higher time investment, and bottlenecks (such as the Fire Department, which consumed 420 days) to redesign a more effective process overall.
Simultaneously, we built a mechanism by which businesses could be segmented, considering type of work and risk involved, and matched with the elements of the process that were truly necessary to them. By reducing the number of businesses requiring the full set of approvals (for example, law firms requiring fewer certifications than factories), we reduced the pressure on certain steps, and provided a faster route for lower risk organizations.
We defined the new processes based on future company risk level, creating separate paths for low and high-risk businesses, and prepared scenarios according to legislation adjustments. The average opening time improved from 480 days to less than 30 days in low risk organizations, leveraging automation, and 60 days for high risk businesses.