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Key questions to ask when starting service delivery reviews

2020-11-12


In light of dynamic budgets and rapid technology evolutions, local governments are taking on service delivery reviews – the practice of critically evaluating the services they deliver to citizens and how they deliver them.

Service delivery reviews have immense promise. They can unlock potential within your organization, find efficiencies across departments, and help you exceed citizen expectations. But these reviews come with pitfalls too.

Municipal World Article

If you’re beginning to explore service delivery reviews, here are some key questions to ask as you start your planning.

Why are you undertaking a review?

Reviews can be time-intensive and broad, so you need to establish a clear focus for why you’re going through this process. There are four common reasons for a review: improving over status quo, planning for the future, creating better operations, and developing a brighter future. Your answer may be a selection of these options or a combination of all four.

By establishing a review focus, you gain a lens for evaluating your current service delivery. You can easily identify how a process is (or is not) helping you achieve your goals and then work to develop a solution. 

What are you going to do with the output of the review?

To get the results you’re looking for, you need to start with the end in mind. What are you hoping to achieve with the reviews? The answer to this question informs your approach. You can build your service delivery review to specifically address your intended outcomes.

For example, if you are conducting the review to create a case to bring to government council, this can inform the questions you ask or the areas you evaluate. But if you already have the buy-in from leadership, your review can focus more on the operational aspects and help you determine how you can improve your services.

Identifying what you’re going to do with the review can help you develop a clear focus and an efficient review.

What is our implementation strategy?

This is the key question that local governments consistently overlook. Identifying issues or opportunities and creating recommendations for what needs to change is the easy part. Building a plan for how to realize those opportunities and turn ideas into actions is where service delivery reviews can go off the rails.

Implementing change is difficult. Departments often lack the experience in managing change and underestimate the resources required to make implementation a success. Local governments can also overlook who is impacted by the proposed changes and unintentionally leave out important voices during the implementation planning.

Asking yourself this question upfront helps you keep implementation in mind throughout the entire service delivery review. You will be able to identify who is responsible for supporting implementation and make sure they are included throughout the review process, creating buy-in and heading off issues along the way.

By asking your team these questions, you can lay the foundation for a successful service delivery review. While this is just the starting point, it is critical to get off on the right foot when undertaking large and complex tasks like this.

If your local government is looking to get started on service delivery reviews, our team can help. To learn more, contact James Richardson, MBA, Partner, at 780.969.1496 or [email protected].