Ashford Borough Council
We worked with Ashford Borough Council to respond to challenging targets due to the financial impact the pandemic had and support their wider commercial development.
Sprint Review and Route Map
We undertook a sprint review of the commercial opportunities at Ashford. This involved meetings with 13 service teams over a three-day period followed by research looking into their service areas. This stage was done over a few days, building on our experience of similar initiatives in other authorities to quickly identify when an unrealised opportunity existed. These opportunities were classified together with an estimate of the market potential to enable quick decision making on how to move forward. Following on from this review we developed a route map to identify when and how commercial initiatives should be invested in and focused on to achieve the desired objectives.
Commercial Strategy and Framework
We wrote a three year commercial strategy and developed a commercial framework to help manage existing commercial initiatives and new ideas. This framework helps service managers and other staff to think about key commercial questions and areas of analysis and allows the commercial board at Ashford to compare opportunities against each other to determine where the best ROI can be found.
We ran a series of training events for staff and elected members to develop their commercial awareness and commercial skills and, through the training, familiarise them with the commercial framework. The training was for two staff cohorts: the senior management team and head of service with other key commercial officers. In total around 30 staff and 12 members received training.
Marketing Plan and Implementation
We then developed marketing plans for two services which high commercial potential: the Lifeline Service and CCTV. These were developed alongside key staff, helping them to understand how to develop a good marketing plan and further increased the pool of skilled commercial officer in ABC. We also supported the initial implementation of the marketing plans.
It was identified early on that culture change is an important part of the commercial development process. This became especially apparent during lockdown where the council achieved fantastic results with staff empowered to work in new and different ways. We ran a culture change project with Ashford, identifying the existing culture and what changed during lockdown. We then looked at the culture needed to thrive in the current and future operating environments and finally identified actions that will bridge the gap from one to another. This process completed over a four week period, involved around 100 staff to ensure good buy in to the process.
COMMERCIAL SPRINT REVIEW
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WHAT THEY SAID ABOUT US
ASHFORD BOROUGH COUNCIL ENGAGED WITH COMMERCIAL GOV INITIALLY THROUGH A RECOMMENDATION FROM ANOTHER BOROUGH COUNCIL WHO WAS FURTHER ALONG THE COMMERCIAL JOURNEY THAN WE WERE AT THE TIME.
THE WORK WITH DAVID AND COMMERCIAL GOV HAS BEEN IMMENSELY POWERFUL. DAVID CAME INTO THE COUNCIL, CARRYING OUT “SPRINTS” WITH EACH SERVICE TO GET A FEEL FOR APPETITE, APTITUDE AND POSSIBILITIES FOR COMMERCIAL OPPORTUNITIES IN EACH SERVICE AREA, INITIALLY WITH A LONGER-TERM HORIZON INCOME GOAL. HOWEVER, CIRCUMSTANCES BEING WHAT THEY ARE, DAVID REVISED SUGGESTIONS IN LIGHT OF NEEDED “QUICKER WINS” AND LONGER-TERM OPPORTUNITIES. DAVID HAS HELPED TO BRING THE ORGANISATION TOGETHER BY RUNNING WORKSHOPS WITH MANAGEMENT TEAM, STAFF AND IMPORTANTLY MEMBERS, TO ENSURE WE WERE ALL “ON THE SAME PAGE”. DAVID’S MANNER AND EXPERIENCE HAS MEANT THAT HIS PRESENTATIONS AND WORKSHOPS HAVE BEEN WELL RECEIVED BY ALL.
DAVID HAS ENABLED THE DEVELOPMENT OF OUR COMMERCIAL STRATEGY, AIDED US IN IDENTIFYING OPPORTUNITIES AND MARKETS (INCLUDING PROVIDING MARKETING TRAINING), PROVIDED E-LEARNING WHICH IS STILL WITH US AFTER THE FACE TO FACE TRAINING FOR OTHERS TO DRAW ON AND HELPED TO BEGIN AN ENABLING CHANGE OF CULTURE. HE HAS HELPED US TO ACHIEVE A LOT IN A SHORT TERM AND ENABLED THE PREPARATION OF A LEGACY THAT WE CONTINUE.
Head of Environmental Land Management and Commercial Lead,
Ashford Borough Council