Home Office taps Mason Advisory to support merger of digital arm

16 July 2019 Consultancy.uk 4 min. read

Following a rigorous tender process, the UK Government has handed Mason Advisory a contract to aid the implementation of its new Home Office Digital and Home Office Technology functions. The professional services firm will now work as programme delivery partner to ensure the project meets citizen needs, and improve the entity’s organisational effectiveness.

At a time of major upheaval for the UK, recent times have seen the Home Office routinely turn to digital technology for new solutions. Arup was appointed to a £1 billion Emergency Services Mobile Communications Programme from the Home Office in 2015, with the aim of bringing emergency services communications into the digital age. Meanwhile, amid the ongoing furor of Brexit, the UK Government tapped Accenture, BJSS, Capgemini, Deloitte Digital and Worldreach last year to develop an immigration app, designed for registering EU citizens post-2019.

In this increasingly active sector, the Home Office decided that in order to ensure such efforts would form a coherent, costed and open network of digital solutions, it should merge its digital, data and technology wings. The resulting Home Office Digital, Data and Technology (HODDaT) is a set of government functions which aim to help design, build and develop services for the rest of the Home Office department and for the UK Government as a whole, on everything from the digital transformation of the Home Office to the policing of UK streets and maintenance of the country’s borders.

Home Office taps Mason Advisory to support merger of digital arm

The merger process was easier said than done, however. It required integration work in the same way any private sector merger would, and left the Home Office in need of assistance to implement a new organisation structure and operating model. As a result, the department launched a tender to find a programme delivery partner to ensure that technology-enabled change across the Home Office would be funded, governed, and delivered in an effective and transparent manner.

All this also needed to be underwritten by a capacity to deliver value for money – a key bone of contention for public sector contracting of the consulting sector. Most recently, the UK Government was pilloried for handing a new round of contracts to consulting firms regarding its divorce from the EU. Worth around £160 million, some of the contracts are set to last until Spring 2020, and will pay some of the world’s largest professional services firms between £3 million and £6 million each.

As a result of this pressure, the Home Office needed to ensure it put its HODDaT work to a laborious tender process. 51 firms subsequently ended up vying for the gig, a heightened competition which the Government will point to as having pushed down the price of the work from the successful contractor. In the end, IT consultancy Mason Advisory was the consultancy which emerged victorious, thanks to its experience in supporting the delivery of multi-workstream programmes for complex organisations, its proficiency in implementing organisation design, and its familiarity in working closely with senior leaders.

Launched five years ago, Mason Advisory has offices in Salford’s MediaCityUK and London, employing over 40 staff. The firm will now work on the £3.7 million engagement across a two-year period, sharing its best practices and guidance while working collaboratively and as an integrated team to support the continuous improvement of programme management activities. The engagement will also require Mason Advisory to coordinate across initiatives and engage with senior HODDaT stakeholders, including the Chief HODDaT Officer and her senior management team.

Commenting on the contract, Duncan Swan, Managing Director – Public Sector at Mason Advisory, said, “The ability to combine all of the workstreams that form a successful transformation rests heavily on understanding the human side of business change. And that really does play to our core strengths at Mason Advisory… We’re already enjoying our initial interactions with the Home Office team and share a common goal of ensuring the Strategic Operating Model for DDaT is delivered successfully. It really matters; it is core to achieving the value for money outcomes we all expect from the Government”.