Ecorys completes reviews of State Level Programmes in Nigeria

26 April 2017 Consultancy.uk

The UK Department for International Development commissioned Ecorys to provide independent reviews and support for its five interlocking State Level Programmes in Nigeria. The reviews, throughout the processes, supported the iterative development of the programmes, and will now form a background for the DFID’s planning for the Operational Plan 2016-2020.

The Department for International Development (DFID) in Nigeria is a UK Government led programme that aims to support the country meet its Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). As it stands the country of close to 170 million people, finds around 100 million of those living on less than £1 a day. While relatively wealthy in terms of natural resources, Nigeria faces considerable institutional barriers – including wide spread corruption.

According to recent data, complications during birth result in the deaths of up to 100 women per day, while 2,000 children under 5 die from preventable disease. Every day. 8.5 million of the country’s children do not attend school. The poor outcome for the weakest in Nigerian society risk the MDGs for the entire continent not being achieved.

Ecorys performs independent reviews of State Level Programmes

As part of its wider support of Nigeria, the DFID ran five State Level Programmes (SLPs), which focused on addressing key areas of lack. The programmes included:

  • Strengthen governance arrangements at the State level through Public Finance Management (PFM), Public Administration Reform and policy formulation;
  • Increase accountability and voice;
  • Improve financing, management and delivery of sustainable and replicable pro-poor health services;
  • Improve planning, financing, management and delivery of basic education services to achieve universal basic education in Nigeria;
  • Create an improved environment for non-oil sector growth.

To support the DFID achieve its goals in relation to the five State Level Programmes, an Independent Monitoring and Evaluation Programme (IMEP) was run along side the wider programme. The IMEP was given awarded to consultancy firm Ecorys at the start of 2013.

The firm recently announced that it has completed the commission from the DFID in relation to the SLPs. The firm reports that, as part of its wider services in line with the IMEP project, it ran regular annual, mid-term and completion reviews for the SLPs, the compilation of which will inform the DFID’s planning for the Operational Plan 2016-2020.

In addition, the consulting firm ran two Citizen Perception Survey as part of its wider collection of data regarding the efficacy of the SLPs, across ten states in Nigeria – regarding how/what changes citizens perceived in the quality of State Government service delivery. The continual collection and delivery of information through the IMEP to the DFID allowed the latter to make relevant changes to its SLPs where necessary to improve wider project outcomes.

Remarking on the project a spokesperson for the firm adds, “Ecorys has completed a five-year project with Department for International Development (DFID) in Nigeria. The Independent Monitoring and Evaluation Programme (IMEP) aimed to increase individual and collective performance of five State Level Programmes.”

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How data insights helped Network Rail improve the South-East route

11 April 2019 Consultancy.uk

Amey Consulting has leveraged data insights to assist Network Rail with the improvement of its South-Eastern route. Using the Quartz tool, which monitors train movement, Network Rail will now be able to commit to data-enabled interventions to quickly improve underperforming train stations.

With rail services in the UK coming under strain from the demands of modern commuter life, while the infrastructure and service delivery of the nation’s railways has come in for sustained criticism in recent years, a period of regeneration is on the cards at last. Network Rail is the owner and infrastructure manager of most of the railway network in Great Britain, and has subsequently tapped the consulting industry on a regular basis to help find areas of improvement.

The group recently drafted in consultancy BearingPoint to conduct a thorough organisational evaluation and advise Network Rail (High Speed) on attaining a ‘fit for purpose’ organisational standard – for which the consultancy was nominated at the 2019 MCA Awards. Meanwhile, ArupArcadis and Aecom have been contracted to help Colas Rail and Babcock Rail implement a decade-long framework for Network Rail, aimed at supporting the delivery of the next generation of rail systems, with the contracts said to be worth as much as £5 billion

How data insights helped Network Rail improve the South-East route

As Network Rail further aims to improve its performance and customer service offering, another area it has sought help from the consulting sector for is its South-East route. The network of railways connects London with the southern parts of the country, as well as with Europe, making it the busiest in the country, with more than 500 million passenger journeys per year. This crucial expanse of rail was plagued with small minute delays, which were impacting millions of passengers every day, while reducing the efficiency and capacity of the overall network – something Amey Consulting was selected to help solve.

Amey Consulting soon determined that with the sub-threshold delays to services only lasting for 1 or 2 minutes, most were not the subject of detailed root cause analysis, and this made their corrections almost impossible – with dire consequences. Without addressing these delays, passenger satisfaction would fall, while the capacity and efficiency of the network would be reduced, stinging the income of Network Rail even before a host of delay-related fines would hit the company.

In order to help the client gain a better understanding of where, how, when and what these small delays occur, Amey Consulting looked to demonstrate the value of data-led consulting, with a significant reduction in delays within the first month of rolling out changes to key stations. The consultants embedded themselves in Network Rail’s team, helping them learn the key skills needed to support and apply data-driven solutions.

Agile transport

This involved the deployment of the Quartz tool. The system utilises to-the-second train movement data to present the performance of individual stations across the South-East route. It allows users to effortlessly understand station performance with a high level of detail, and use this information to identify losses caused by small-minute delays. The granular data allows for targeted actions to drive efficiency savings and performance improvements. More importantly, it allows users to understand the impact of small process changes on performance. 

Steve Dyke, an Executive Partner at Amey Consulting, said of the project, “We looked to identify the physical root cause on the infrastructure, building a case for change then managing that project implementation and tracking the benefit/value.  In doing so we are working to define a data performance improvement service to the operational and infrastructure owners.”

Just as important for the project as the technology, however, was teaching the Network Rail team how to leverage it after the consultants were gone. The Amey Consulting team worked to develop an agile working culture within Network Rail’s South-East division, helping staff to be confident in using data to improve the journeys of millions of people per year by attacking the problem from the ground up.

Dyke concluded, “This is less about the tools and about the approach to managing performance.  It meant using by-the-second analysis, data science, and then agile development to visualise and identify areas where improvements can be made.  We then worked with NR to change the way they approached the management of the infrastructure changes.  So rather than pass the information down the value chain, any of which could have been missed, we managed the change end-to-end.”

The project was so successful that Amey Consulting was also among those honoured at the recent MCA Awards. The firm scooped the Performance Improvement in the Public Sector prize for its work with Network Rail, at the 2019 ceremony in London.