A large government agency had to respond to legislation change immediately and without time to develop detailed policy, processes and procedures. A year later, an independent audit showed that there were major inconsistencies in outcomes and processing times and widespread customer dissatisfaction. The agency came under fire for not having clear policies and standard operating procedures.
Tactics was engaged to document policies and procedures, but our consultants soon realised that there was little agreement and the whole area was in a state of flux. Responsibility was shared by two business groups within the agency, and decision-making was further complicated by operational activities being decentralised in regional offices and partly outsourced to consultants. It was like nailing jelly to the wall, as our consultants observed.
The two Tactics consultants became much-needed neutral intermediaries in the process of developing policy and process details. They researched the subject matter, interviewed experts and facilitated numerous process mapping sessions and project team meetings. They then analysed and synthesised the information and developed draft policies and procedures for review. Seeing everything in a logical structure ‘hanging together’ enabled subject matter experts to see the bigger picture, and having it presented by a neutral party helped overcome entrenched positions and facilitate agreement.
Within six weeks our consultants had developed a manual that quickly became ‘the bible’ for external stakeholders and agency staff alike. External stakeholders now knew how they were being assessed and had a better understanding of the complex procedures the agency as a regulatory body was required to follow. Staff and consultants in regional offices had a common set of operating procedures as well as an authoritative reference source for customers needing advice.
But it didn’t end there. Having seen the value not only in the end product but also in the documentation process itself, the agency has continued Tactics’ engagement for keeping the manual current and assisting with other policy development and documentation. Over the last five years, the original manual has been expanded into two large volumes to encompass all related areas, and Tactics has been an integral part of improving and refining the evolving policies and processes as well as the documentation.