Norfolk & Suffolk: Establishing a Joint Transformation for Future Capabilities – A Leapwise Case Study 


Norfolk (1) and Suffolk (2) Constabularies have one of the most mature collaborations in UK Policing, sharing enabling function(e.g. ICT, HR and Finance) and operational functions (e.g. Joint Justice, Joint Protective Services and Offender Management) for over 10 years. This collaboration was a key lever for delivering significant savings in response to the austerity policing has experienced since 2010. However, since its inception, there had been limited fundamental review and investment in change in this space and there is now a new wave of financial pressure (austerity 2.0) to respond to, as well as strong appetite from both forces to continually improve performance.  

The Challenge

Norfolk & Suffolk had already started to face up to Austerity 2.0 and find short-term savings across functions through an annual budgeting process which identified savings through traditional mechanisms, such as vacancy management and control of contractual spend. However, with the ‘easier’ savings made and increased efficiency required, leaders across the forces wanted to pursue a more transformational approachidentifying new routes to a sustainable financial future without negatively impacting service delivery.  

The Constabularies commissioned Leapwise to help with this, noting that while there was a large ambition for change, it was clear that both organisations were already stretched thin by a wide array of existing change projects – including many created by new national requirements. Some form of rationalisation would be necessary to enable the successful delivery of a long-term transformation so they sought support from our team to:  

  1. Align leaders on a vision and objectives for a joint transformation 
  2. Design a programme to achieve the vision/objectives, with a clear investment profile  
  3. Rationalise the existing change portfolio to create capacity for transformation  
  4. Provide recommendations on how to strengthen change governance in the immediate 

Our Approach

Over four months, we worked closely with both leadership teams and the joint change team to identify key improvement opportunities, align leaders on the transformation vision and ambition, and design a costed, and phased programme. Our approach focused heavily on engagement with Chief Officers to create a shared understanding on the case for change, and alignment on the transformation ambition and objectives.  

Over four months, we:  

  1. Defined the opportunities for change 
    • Identified a long list of improvement opportunities through benchmarking, interviews, workshops and documents review; and provided estimates of required investment, savings impacts and improvements  
    • Aligned leaders on the top improvement opportunities for transformation  
  2. Designed the transformation programme 
    • Facilitated collaborative workshops across the joint chief officer teams to shape vision, objectives, and scope 
    • Designed a high-level phased transformation programme and provided recommendations on transformation implementation approach (incl. programme roles, cost, set up timeline etc.)  
  3. Created capacity for change – ‘clearing the decks’ 

    • Developed a unique and comprehensive project tracker capturing risk, cost, resources, benefits and progress – providing the PMO with a singular source of information for all change projects in the joint space 
    • Designed and supported a process of rationalisation, where all projects were put through a rigorous and bespoke decision-making structure to stop, pause, continue, or rescope  
  4. Provided recommendations on how to ‘keep the decks clear’  
    • Developed a set of interventions to tighten control of the existing governance structures and inputs to ‘keep the decks clear’ 


Throughout the scoping and design, we were constantly faced with the tension between wanting to achieve transformative results for the workforce and public, while achieving short term savings – two things typically in conflict. To balance these, we designed a transformation programme that: 

a. builds in house capabilities that can improve productivity and efficiency within the organisations for the long term 

b. also delivers results fast through short-termdemonstration projects’ that remove known pain points, build the capability, and deliver earlier results 

c. has flexibility to reprioritise projects and activities as operational needs change and understanding of likely project benefits become clearer 

 The work has resulted in: 

  • A joint transformation programme design that develops / matures capabilities required for the future (including process and automation) and by programme end sustainably delivers ~£3 million savings p.a. through efficiencies and productivity gains using these capabilities 
  • Accelerated transformation design and set up, taking Norfolk & Suffolk from initial discovery and scoping through to an investment decision in 6 months 
  • A central view of change programmes/projects with costs and benefits captured, to support future investment decisions  
  • 32% of in progress projects stopped or paused, allowing for 12 FTE to be redistributed to other organisational priorities, and resulting in £340K cost avoidance  
  • Strengthened change control and wider education on importance of change business roles (e.g. SRO & benefits management 

In very short order, I’m amazed by the evidenced understanding you have of the challenges facing us, and by the way you have worked with us to build a sensible way forward

– Chief Constable Paul Sandford

“A really constructive engagement; as a team we have all grown through the last few weeks and months”

– Chief Constable Rachel Kearton

Key to this success was both leadership commitment and the day-to-day collaboration with Norfolk & Suffolk’s joint change team, who will ultimately support the delivery of this transformation. They were central in delivering the change portfolio rationalisation process and are already taking steps to further improve change capability across both organisations, for both change practitioners and officers/staff. 

For more insights on effective transformation programme that helped Norfolk and Suffolk achieve transformative results, please reach out to our team to discuss. 

Reach out to our Team