This appointment was initially to support the management of the last six months of the pre-acquisition phase of another Trust. This included the consolidation of financial systems, reporting, procurement transaction processing and business intelligence systems, including contract management. The acquisition decision had been delayed and inadequate leadership had led to the consolidation project falling behind plan, putting a successful consolidation at risk and causing tensions across the finance teams in both organisations. In the previous financial year the Trust had also moved to an outsourced provider for financial services and the new platform was not working well. A tight rein was quickly established over the merger project plan, which led to the replacement of the project manager. Individual project plans were reviewed with project leads and revised critical paths agreed. In parallel senior leadership from the outsourced provider was engaged to support greater focus on the failures in the outsourced functions; outstanding debt were also reduced from £18m to below £10m in four months to support the cash position. A report was also commissioned from the new project manager to assess the option of leaving the outsourced provider in favour of moving to the financial system operated by trust being acquired. The recommendation to exit SBS was originally rejected by the Chief Financial Officer but was subsequently over-turned, and the newly combined Trust has now moved away from SBS.
This project was then extended to support the establishment of a project office for the delivery of savings to underpin a successful consolidation of the two organisations. The governance arrangements for the programme were strengthened, the existing programme was revised with a new delivery structure and the formation of a Programme Management Office, including standardised planning, monitoring and reporting documentation, as well as building a new team. Each target was revisited and evidence-based plans identified to give greater substance to the wider plan. A parallel workstream was established to identify a set of non-recurrent measures “Q1 Controls” to insure against shortfalls in the early part of the new financial year. A project board, led by the Chief Executive, was established, together with an accountability and clarity of plans to give assurance for individual transformation plans. At the time of my exit the project had established structures and plans for savings to meet the target.