Cabinet Office

Forming an Agile Government -
The Cabinet Office


Setting the Scene:

In 2012, the UK Government set upon a course to reform the Civil Service. This included a substantial change programme in order to reduce the budget deficit following the 2008 financial downturn. The government determined that the public sector would have to match the efficiency and productivity gains in the private sector. As such, each department in the Civil Service was encouraged to implement agile working to modernise working environments as well as increase the efficiency of office space, ultimately leading to the need for fewer government buildings.

The Challenge:

Former Cabinet Office Minister Francis Maude wanted to assess the success of each department’s implementation of agile working. From the government’s perspective, this meant giving people more freedom to work where and when they wanted in and out of government buildings.

The Solution:

The Way We Work (TW3) team, a cross-departmental programme, invited AWA’s managing director and founder, Andrew Mawson, to join a panel whose aim was to review the performance of 13 separate government departments. To ensure the process was robust and consistent throughout, Andrew, AWA’s senior workplace consultant Karen Plum and the TW3 team developed a maturity framework, with a series of probes that led to the classification of each department’s maturity across a range of factors including culture, technology, space, change processes and change maintenance.

The team carried out face-to-face interviews with senior leaders from each of the 13 departments. The results were then collated, and strategic advice was fed back to the departmental director generals. This process not only gave the minister a better understanding of how well agile working was being implemented but also allowed the different departments to share good practice. In the end TW3 gained widespread support for the roll-out of agile, which contributed to a 20% reduction in government office property holdings.

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