With such limited time, and with a large amount of work to do, Underpin Consultant Lewis English began by immersing himself in contracts, tender submissions and any other information that would help him get up to speed as quickly as possible.
Lewis joined a mobilisation team that consisted of Hertfordshire County Council commissioners, the co-CEOs of the new providers, Citizens Advice Stevenage and Age UK Hertfordshire, and other project staff, leading the first and all future meetings.
Utilising his project management techniques and collaborative communication skills.
Lewis and the team developed a mobilisation plan that would solve the short term challenges as quickly as possible, and at the same time create a pathway for medium and long-term solutions.
Over the course of the project, regular in-person and online meetings, chaired by Lewis, ensured the mobilisation team understood challenges and worked together on solutions.
One of the key things identified by Underpin Consultant Lewis English early in the project was the importance of the wider public sector community in the success of a new, revamped HertsHelp. HertsHelp, at its core, is a referral and signposting service. In recent years, due to Covid, HertsHelp had struggled to define itself and therefore had got a reputation as an unwieldy and less than ideal service.
There was a great deal of goodwill from the wider community. Updates on the HertsHelp transition were given by Lewis in meetings allowed by the commissioning officers of Hertfordshire County Council to create public ownership. The aim was to set out a strong pathway to success and deliver the message that the changes will take time. At the end of each session, we asked for feedback, which was then folded into the plans, processes and mobilisation of the HertsHelp service.
The open and honest communication helped everyone understand HertsHelp was changing for the better and that they, as partners, had a role to play in its future. The team could focus on transferring the service, including TUPE, process writing and a rebrand, without the pressure of a perfection that was impossible in the short timeframe.