Case Study: Northern Ireland Office

“We know what we’re here to do, but we need to be clearer about how we do it, and clearer about how we’re going to make the most impact with fewer resources. You need to build the best, most flexible, Northern Ireland Office we can with the resources we have. And whatever we do, we need to do it quickly”.

Ok, so this is paraphrasing a bit but this is the gist of the scenario presented to Colin Perry by Sir Jonathan Stephens, Permanent Secretary, when Colin joined the Northern Ireland Office as a Director in December 2014.

Prior to that, in autumn 2014, Sir Jonathan had commissioned a ‘Review of the Northern Ireland Office’ about the Northern Ireland Office’s role and purpose. The 2014 Review reported in November, noting that some improvements had been made following a 2012 review but identifying a number of pressing concerns that needed to be addressed.

The recommendations were wide-ranging but Colin was able to brigade the over-arching rationale for them into three distinct questions to help focus the aims of the change plan. These were:

  • How do we understand our organisational purpose and develop our business plan?
  • How do we organise ourselves to deliver our business objectives?
  • How do we communicate and share this?

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