Case Study: Service Catalogue

A Government Agency sought the assistance of Business Aspect to deliver on the Renewal and Contestability initiatives of the Government.   The economic theory of contestability was that the threat of competition drives improvements in efficiency and service delivery.

The first step of the ‘Contestability Life Cycle’ was the development of a Service Catalogue.  The second step was to take those services identified in step one and determine which should be subjected to ‘potential exposure’ to competition.  From there the Agency could determine which services it should continue to provide, and which would better serve their customers if provided through alternative delivery channels.

The initial challenge for the Agency was to examine and recast their activities identified in the Operational Plan to reflect the services they actually deliver to their customers, as seen from the customer’s perspective, rather than the activities they undertake, reflecting their structure and internal organisational relationships.  This was the development of a Service Catalogue.

Business Aspect chose a deep engagement approach to the development of the Service Catalogue, building relationships within the Agency and transferring knowledge and learnings into the Agency.  The engagement process consisted of:

  1. Structured interviews with the Director-General (DG), Deputy DG, Executive Directors and other senior officers on services, service objectives, and outcomes, as well as customers, partners and stakeholders.
  2. Development of a high-level view of Departmental services and a plain English description of each service and its relationships.
  3. Development of detailed service descriptions at three levels:
    1. Level 1 Services - describes a service class.
    2. Level 2 Services - a series of interrelated activities that convert inputs into results.
    3. Level 3 Services - activities at the task level.

For each Level 1 and Level 2 service, a vision, outputs and outcomes were identified and verified at the operational level.

The relationships between the services showed that each service was exposed to external customers, or supported the delivery of other services, to varying degrees.

The second step was the analysis of services (at the level 3 level) to determine the best candidates for contestability. 

The Agency determined that all services were to be considered eligible for contestability.  However, they needed to determine which services would yield the greatest benefits from contestability exposure, and therefore, which should be progressed to that stage first.

Business Aspect developed an Evaluation Methodology and an Evaluation Tool to assist Departmental executives prioritise their services.  The evaluation delivered a weighted assessment against six criteria:

  1. Alignment with the strategic objectives of the Government and the Agency
  2. Identification of ‘inherently governmental’ core services
  3. Examination of the customer focus of the service
  4. Examination of the size and cost of the service
  5. Assessment of the ‘business readiness’ of the service for contestability
  6. Assessment of the ‘market awareness’ of the Agency and the commerciality of the service

The Agency was then able to screen the weighted scores for each service to ‘explore’ the data, change some of the evaluation assumptions, and challenge conventional thinking and the status quo.

The result was a prioritised list of services to be subjected to early contestability analysis, subject to the approval of the Government’s Renewal Oversight Committee (ROC). 

The ROC approved the Department’s service catalogue and evaluation processes, clearing the way for further action.