This guide provides key questions senior leaders need to consider when overseeing complex business operations.
Operations and process management
Business-as-usual operations constitute around £600bn of government expenditure – making it crucial this spending delivers value for money. Government, like other business sectors, is using operations management principles such as lean, systems thinking and continuous improvement for managing and improving performance. This includes informing business change and determining whether processes are needed and are delivering intended outcomes efficiently. Strategic, policy and investment decisions, use of information, technology, and organisational capability all have a major impact on whether services are efficient and meet customers' needs.
By analysing performance across government, the NAO has identified the aspects of operations and process management with the greatest impact. These include having a customer focus, taking a whole system perspective, using information to inform business decisions, and building an effective management and leadership environment.
Key NAO publications:
This report examines the progress the government has made in developing specialist skills in the civil service.
17 Jul 2020
The Cabinet Office is responsible for the Business Appointment Rules, but has not published any guidelines, and has no oversight of departmental compliance.
19 Jul 2017
We present here what we’ve been learning about the problems government faces in managing its business operations, the actions taken to address them, and our analysis of what government needs to focus on to get this right.
30 Sep 2015
The new military flying training is 6 years delayed and there is much to do if the MoD is to get the planned benefits from its contractor.
12 Jun 2015
HMRC has made good progress towards maximising revenue and making cost savings but also needs to do much more to improve its customer service.
6 Feb 2015
PaceSetter has led to productivity improvements and may have contributed to greater staff engagement. However, the extent to which overall efficiency has improved is not clear; and some key principles of process improvement are not yet being applied strategically across the entire organisation.
15 Jul 2011
The NAO’s assessment of the maturity of process management in central government identifies areas of strength and opportunities to improve.
1 Dec 2010
“The task of supporting operations in Iraq and Afghanistan is not an easy one. Despite this challenge, the Ministry of Defence has had a number of successes, particularly in providing life-saving medical treatment. But there is still more to do. By improving the management and replenishment of stocks in theatre and getting a clearer picture of what supplies are available and where they are, the MOD could make real improvements to its supply chain.”
14 May 2009