Digital strategy development for Bristol, North Somerset, South Gloucestershire STP (BNSSG)

A digital transformation strategy and roadmap to improve joint working and sustainability, and deliver 19% savings on digital spend.

The challenge

Following completion of the Local Digital Roadmap for Bristol, North Somerset, South Gloucestershire (BNSSG) in 2016, SCW reported that delivery of the ambitions set out in the Roadmap would be reliant on revisions to the leadership, governance and delivery model of the STP Digital workstream. As a result, the BNSSG STP Executive commissioned further work to support the development of the BNSSG Digital Transformation Strategy. They were keen to build on their previous digital successes, such as the Connecting Care Local Health and Care Record (LHACR) programme also managed by SCW. This BNSSG team named the resulting digital transformation strategy ‘Building on Success’. 

While previous digital transformation and interoperability initiatives in the region had improved performance and value, there was a need to develop a single, coherent strategy to facilitate closer working between all system partners, to align and de-duplicate digital initiatives in train, and to drive out the short and long-term efficiencies required by the STP plan. The required outputs included a baseline of digital and technical architecture capabilities, a strategic plan, and a framework for transforming digital services across BNSSG for the next ten years.

What we delivered

To deliver the outputs, SCW worked collaboratively with partners across the whole system, building close working relationships and acting as a ‘broker’ to ensure that local stakeholders were able to achieve their digital ambitions within the context of the overarching transformation strategy. To improve this engagement process, we developed a shared vision and goal for digital development and established a common language so that health and non-health partners could communicate effectively. This enabled us to precisely map all existing systems, architecture, suppliers and programmes within the system, as the basis for evaluation and planning.   

Providing a flexible, multi-disciplinary support team for the eight-month project (including Digital Transformation, IT, Finance, Communications and Marketing skills) ensured that STP leaders had cost-efficient access to the expertise they required at every stage and brought pace to each of the core activities – stakeholder engagement, research and analysis, data collection, financial analysis, budget management, and report production. As well as driving performance and on-time delivery, our experienced leadership team linked seamlessly into the STP governance structure to provide strategic advice and guidance where needed and to maximise visibility and control of the programme for the STP Executive.  

To strengthen the strategic plans we developed and to ensure the STP was able to benefit from wider learning, we supplemented our own technical and sector expertise with a deep analysis of digital transformation and interoperability solutions successfully delivered in other national and international health economies and other non-health sectors. 

The outcome

Through extensive engagement and co-creation with partners across the system, SCW produced a coherent and achievable digital transformation strategy and roadmap that would improve joint working and sustainability and deliver 19% savings on digital spend – bringing the STP back in line with its planned operating budget. 

SCW produced a series of reports and recommendations as part of the ‘Building on Success’ strategy, which was based on the research and analysis we conducted. These reports indicated that the digital and IT infrastructure across BNSSG was sub-optimal and at risk of remaining that way because of a lack of system-wide strategic planning, limited interoperability, and divergent development programmes with duplicated activity and misalignment between outcomes.  

As well as their baseline position, the report identified six themes for transformation across BNSSG which included; a proposed governance structure to deliver the transformation and place digital transformation at the core of STP; a full financial plan; recommendations for a unified interoperability programme and a convergence programme; and also how to build commitment to further co-operation across BNSSG to deliver this digital strategy.   

Within the financial plan, we identified that savings of £7.8m to £9.7m per year would result from the STP adopting the approach outlined in the report, representing 19% of their current spend and bringing them back in line with their planned operating budget.  

The extensive engagement undertaken has given SCW an excellent understanding of the goals, priorities and working preferences of partners across the system – insight that we are now using to drive delivery of the digital strategy and other services we provide in the region. Particularly relevant is the learning we gained regarding viable governance frameworks for co-design, delivery and management of technological change. We continue to support these organisations to de-duplicate their development plans and converge their digital priorities and plans.

'This truly is a superb piece of work'. Sir Ron Kerr, STP Chair

'Andy’s team led by Paul Arrigoni have done a stunning job of pulling this together, I am very grateful for their work'. Robert Woolley, CEO University Hospitals Bristol Trust, STP Lead, Digital SRO 

'This really is a fantastic piece of work, I mean really fantastic. For the first time ever we have a picture of the whole BNSSG system. Digital is leading the way – we need this for every other area.' Andrea Young, CEO, North Bristol Trust

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