Maps for Business Processes

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Business process mapping

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PERFORMANCE MANAGEMENT SUPPORT PORTFOLIO

This document is part of the of the Performance Management Support Portfolio – a series of guides to the key elements of Performance Management, produced by the Local Government Data Unit – Wales and the Welsh Local Government Association.

This paper is based largely on a publication published by Audit Scotland in 2000 ‘The map to success’. We wish to acknowledge our thanks to Audit Scotland for the use of and reproduction of this publication. Each document can be accompanied by the provision of advice, guidance and training support. For further information, or to use the Portfolio within your organisation, contact: Local Government Data Unit – Wales 029 2090 9500 Welsh Local Government Association 029 2046 8600

ISBN - 0-9548488-7-X Published by: Local Government Data Unit – Wales Columbus Walk, Cardiff, CF10 4BY Telephone 029 2090 9500 Email [email protected] Web www.dataunitwales.gov.uk © Local Government Data Unit – Wales, 2005 This material may be reproduced as long as its source is quoted. Any queries should be sent to the Local Government Data Unit – Wales at the above address or e-mail [email protected]

Business process mapping

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Contents 1. Introduction

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2. What is process mapping?

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2.1 So what exactly are process maps?

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3. How can process maps help drive improvement?

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4. Elements of process mapping

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4.1 Process flowcharts 4.1.1 High level flowcharts 4.1.2 Activity flowcharts 4.1.3 Task flowcharts 4.1.4 Deployment flowcharts

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5. Process definition charts

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6. How to do process mapping

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6.1 Decide why you want to process map 6.2 Decide which processes you will map 6.3 Decide who is going to be involved 6.4 Produce the flowcharts and maps

7. Using process maps 7.1 Understand your own processes 7.2 Make sure your processes link with those of your partners 7.3 Benchmark your processes 7.4 Improve your processes

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9. Further help

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Appendices (1) Standard symbols used in flowcharts

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(2) References and further reading

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Local Government Data Unit - Wales

8. Summary

Business process mapping Local Government Data Unit - Wales

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Business process mapping

1. Introduction Expectations on councils to deliver high quality, responsive services, and to ensure that those services are continuously improving have never been greater. Increasingly councils are required not only to promote the interests and priorities of their communities in the services they provide, but also to identify and exploit opportunities for greater efficiency in all that they do.

Frameworks are in place across the UK at both national and local levels to support councils in achieving continuous improvement across their services. In Wales the Wales Programme for Improvement (WPI) places a number of requirements on Welsh councils, including:

 Carrying out an annual risk assessment, identifying key risks faced by the council which provide a focus for improvement activities over the coming year;

 Negotiation with regulators to produce a Regulatory Plan containing a proportionate programme of targeted inspections focusing on high risk areas of service.

Local Government Data Unit - Wales

 Publication each year of an Improvement Plan which sets out what the council aims to achieve required improvements corporately and in services over the coming 12 months – this might include reallocation of resources, changed structures and processes or detailed reviews into problem areas; and

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Business process mapping Local Government Data Unit - Wales

In addition, national initiatives such as the Performance Measurement Review aim to provide local authorities with the tools they need to assess current performance, plan for improvement and track progress into the future. A clear challenge for councils is to become more effective and efficient in the way they do things, in relation to delivery both of front-line and supporting services. Sometimes this might involve looking in some detail at the way processes and activities currently work, and how these might be improved. Process mapping can be an invaluable tool for this, and is being used by a number of councils as they seek to achieve continuous improvement in the services they provide. This paper explains what process mapping is and how councils might use it to improve performance. Throughout we have included illustrative examples of how process mapping has been used both by local authorities and other organisations. We have also included a series of ‘health checks’ – common traps that managers and staff can fall into when embarking upon process mapping and which need to be avoided. The aim is to help people in local authorities think about how they might use process mapping as one of a range of approaches to challenge ways in which they currently do things, and identify positive changes. What the paper does not do is provide in depth practical guidance on carrying out process mapping. Should you need this, further help is available. Details of where to get it are included at the end of the paper.

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2. What is process mapping? Every organisation delivers its services to its customers through a set of interrelated processes. Together these make up a complete service delivery chain – all the activities that, together, ensure customers get the service they want. The problem is that in just about every organisation the individual processes that make up this chain are usually the responsibility of different departments, or teams, or sections. For example, many processes need to come together for a council to provide a quality library service: recruitment and training of staff, payroll systems, purchasing systems, building repairs, cleaning, printing of documentation, marketing and publicity, and so on. All the customer is concerned about, however, is the quality of the final service, not the background processes. To deliver a quality service to the customer, it is vital that each individual process delivers what is required. It is, perhaps, not surprising that the customer often does not receive the service that they expect given the many interrelated processes that have to be completed. The service delivery chain is only as strong as its weakest link. If any one process fails then the customer will not receive a quality service. In the public sector the problem is often compounded further since many services are delivered by a multi-agency approach in which the individual processes will be the responsibility not just of different parts of one organisation but different parts of several. The technical definition of a process is: ‘a set of activities that converts inputs into outputs which meet agreed customer requirements’.

Outputs are the end results of the activities – for example a service provided to a customer, a committee report produced or an invoice paid. In other words, a process is simply the way we do something – using resources to produce results. A process might be fairly high level – providing a social work service, for example, or ensuring effective community consultation as part of service planning – or it might be more focused on a very specific activity such as dealing with a tenant’s request for a housing repair. Processes exist in every organisation – work gets done and services are provided. Everyone working in an organisation is involved in some process or another.

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Inputs are the things that we need in order to be able to carry out these activities – for example, equipment, supplies, budgets, people, and information.

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Business process mapping Local Government Data Unit - Wales

Figure 1: Process model for the Personal Social Services data collection and publication activity at the Local Government Data Unit - Wales Input transformed resources

Environment

Raw data Transformation process: • Data validation Input resources

• Data set production

Outputs: National Statistics

Customers: e.g. Assembly, Local Authorities etc.

• Publication Staff IT

Input transforming resources

Environment

Source: Analysis of the Data Unit’s PSS data collection and publication activity applied to Slack et al’s (2004:98) transformation model

Over time it is likely that many of these processes have developed in an ad hoc way. They may not be properly documented or even understood by the staff involved, and they may no longer represent the best way of providing a service or carrying out some set of activities. Thinking in a rigorous and methodical way about the processes that are in place to deliver services must be a key part of the search for performance improvement. Process maps help this type of thinking.

2.1 So what exactly are process maps? Process maps are diagrams that show – in varying levels of detail – what an organisation does and how it delivers services. The mapping shows the major processes in place, the key activities that make up each process, the sequencing of those activities, the inputs and resources required and the outputs produced by each activity. Process maps are a way of ensuring that the activities making up a particular process are properly understood and properly managed in order to deliver the best services to customers. Process maps are made up of two main elements, represented by diagrams:  Flowcharts that show the sequencing of activities in a particular process; and  Process definition charts, which shows, for each activity, the inputs and resources that are required, the outputs that will result from the activity and the controls that regulate or influence the activity.

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Combining flowcharts and process definition charts will provide a complete process map, although many services will find simply the production of flowcharts a useful aid to service improvement. More detail on these elements is provided in section four.

Health check 1: Are controls stifling efficiency? Often controls have evolved in processes over a long period of time in an ad-hoc fashion, e.g. in response to a specific event or recommendation made by audit or a regulator. This sort of evolving control environment can lead to a cumbersome and/or inefficient process. In the significant majority of cases, where additional controls are introduced into a process, this will lead to additional processing costs. These costs are, however, often hidden in additional processing/staff time. The best approach with controls is, wherever possible, to have them built into the system/process so that they operate automatically. The key rule with controls is to ensure that they manage risks at the optimum level and not to have so much control on a process that every possible risk is mitigated, with no regard for the additional burden that the extra controls impose on a system. The question that needs to be answered is: Are the additional costs associated with the extra controls outweighed by the benefits of additional risks being managed? If the answer to this question is no, then some careful thought should go into assessing the real merits of imposing additional controls. A much better approach is to consider this on a systematic basis, looking at the process in its entirety. Rather than looking at the existing controls, assess the key risks associated with process, and then ensure that on an endto-end basis adequate controls exist on the system to manage the risks identified. Internal audit should be well placed to assist with this approach.

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Business process mapping Local Government Data Unit - Wales

3. How can process mapping help drive improvement? Mapping processes, particularly those that are most complex, can assist services in ensuring that service quality is achieved – that the customer actually gets the service they are meant to. Process mapping can be a useful tool in driving service improvement by:  Helping ensure that managers and staff understand all the activities that make up the process – their sequencing, the resources required to complete the process successfully, the standards and performance targets to be met;  Enabling roles and responsibilities to be clearly agreed and defined, ensuring everyone involved in the process, regardless of where they are in the organisation, knows who is meant to do what;  Helping ensure that activities and services provided on a multidepartmental or multi-agency basis are properly integrated and connected so that the customer does not fall into the gaps between departments and different organisations. This will become more vital as joint working is encouraged by the Welsh Assembly Government’s ‘Making the Connections’ agenda;  Helping councils understand the needs of service users. A key part of process mapping is agreeing the outputs required from the process. By definition such outputs are intended to satisfy customer requirements. The map enables managers to properly understand and define such requirements;  Encouraging a positive, ‘challenge’ culture (a key part of the modernisation agenda). By producing a process map managers and staff are encouraged to ask ‘why?’: Why do we do this? Why do we do it this way? Why do we do it in this order? Why don’t we do it differently? and  Encouraging and contributing to the search for performance improvement. Mapping processes contributes directly to performance benchmarking, performance improvement and service redesign.

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Case study 1: Citigroup Citigroup implemented a common on-line system upon which its 28,000 employees claiming expenses could administer their claims. The solution implemented was based on business process management and brought local practices across 100 different countries as close to a single common policy as possible. The results of the implementation not only improved employee’s travel claim processing and turnaround but it had spin off benefits in that it provided robust management information to allow corporate procurement of certain facilities used on a regular basis. Source: BPMG.org

Case study 2: Mental health service in London A Mental Health Trust in London and the Community Mental Health Trusts realised there were problems with access to outpatient clinics, which were being described as a 'lottery system'. The team used process mapping to really understand how new patients were referred, where they had to wait and what the patients experienced. The team soon realised that there were high non-attendance rates, lengthy waiting lists, misuse of consultant resources and a high potential for gaps in communication. Source: Improvement Leaders’ Guide to Process Mapping, analysis and redesign: NHS Modernisation Agency

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Business process mapping Local Government Data Unit - Wales

4. Elements of process mapping In this section we take a closer look at the elements of process mapping introduced in section two.

4.1 Process flowcharts Flowcharts are a key part of process mapping and, for many organisations, the starting point for understanding and improving processes. A variety of flowcharts may be produced at different levels to provide varying amounts of detail. Here we look at three main types:  a high-level flowchart;  an activity flowchart; and  a task flowchart. In effect, each of these shows increasing amounts of detail about a particular process. In addition, a deployment (or responsibility) flowchart can also be produced.

4.1.1 High-level flowchart This type of flowchart shows the main activities involved in some high-level process. It is useful for providing a summary or overview of what is involved. Consider a situation where, within our service, we need to ensure staff have the appropriate skills and training to do their jobs and to deliver service plan commitments. As such we can consider this a high-level process. We might then develop a flowchart like that in figure 2 to show the main stages involved in the process. Figure 2: High-level flowchart 1

2 Identify the skills staff will need to deliver the service plan

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3 Assess the current skills and competence of staff

5 Develop programme of training events to meet these needs

6 Implement programme of traing events

Source: The Map to Success – Audit Scotland

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Agree and prioritise the training needs of staff

Monitor and review impact of training events

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Business process mapping

In this flowchart the main activities required to complete the whole process have been identified. Note that each of these is numbered. This will help keep track of where we are as we develop the flowchart further.

4.1.2 Activity flowchart An activity flowchart follows on from a high-level flowchart. For any one of the key activities in Figure 2, we can develop an activity flowchart showing the more detailed activities that would need to be completed for this part of the overall process. Figure 3 shows the activity flowchart that we might have developed for stage 5 (Implement programme of training events) of the high-level flowchart in Figure 2. Each of the key activities required for this part of the process is clearly shown, together with the sequencing.

Figure 3: Activity flowchart to implement a programme of training events 5.1

5.2 Agree attendence numbers for each event

Confirm budget available

5.5

5.4 Book Catering

5.6

5.3 Book accomodation

5.7 Book trainer

Agree dates

5.8 Photocopy training material

Book equipment (OHP flipcharts)

5.9 Run events

5.11 Recharge costs to service budget

Source: The Map to Success – Audit Scotland

Notify participants

Local Government Data Unit - Wales

5.10

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Business process mapping Local Government Data Unit - Wales 10

4.1.3 Task flowchart The task flowchart follows on from the activity flowchart and focuses on the detailed tasks that make up a particular activity. Typically, a task flowchart shows in detail the work that has to be completed for the defined part of the process. Figure 4 shows the flowchart that might apply to Task 5.4 Book accommodation that we had in Figure 3. We might have a situation, for example, where accommodation bookings are initiated by the training manager in the HR service. An administrative assistant then completes a proforma request form, which is sent to the facilities manager in central support services. The facilities manager checks for room availability on the date requested. If a room is available, the facilities manager notifies HR’s administration assistant who, in turn, notifies the training manager and the service manager. Finance is notified in terms of any recharge costs incurred. In the event that the facilities manager does not have accommodation available on the requested date, the flowchart moves us to a different set of tasks.

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Business process mapping

Figure 4: Task flowchart Start

Training manager provides event details

Admin assistant completes facilities request form

Request form signed by training manager

Form sent to facilities manager

Facilities manager checks room availability

Booking recorded

YES

NO

Notify admin assistant

Room available?

Admin assistant notifies training manager

Admin assistant notifies training manager and service manager

Admin assistant notifies training manager

Notify finance department of charges

NO Connect to process for booking external facilities

End

Source: The Map to Success – Audit Scotland

YES Organise new date?

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Confirmation notice sent to admin assistant

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Business process mapping Local Government Data Unit - Wales

Producing these kinds of flowchart stimulates challenge by both the staff involved and managers. It is impossible to look at the chart in Figure 4 and not challenge the way things are currently done - looking for parts of the process that can be eradicated, simplified or speeded up; considering whether roles and responsibilities could be altered to make the process more efficient and effective. Remember, every process requires resources and the less efficient and effective a process, the more it is costing us from a resource-use perspective. Case study 3: City and County of Swansea The modernisation of key corporate systems and the implementation of a new electronic care management system were identified as key priorities by Swansea Social Services. Money was obtained from the National Assembly for Wales’ Performance Management Development Fund to appoint a Business Process Officer, whose principle task was to map existing processes in preparation for Business Process Re-engineering across the department in preparation for CRM. Once in post, the officer worked with colleagues in the social services performance unit to develop a systematic approach to process mapping. This involved the following steps: 1. Meeting with managers to identify critical processes to be mapped, and identifying the major inputs and deliverables associated with them, along with constraints and enablers; 2. Working with people involved in the selected processes to produce an objective ‘as is’ map. The aim here was to get as wide a range of perspectives as possible in order to get a true picture of what currently happened; 3. Working with staff to validate the process maps produced and begin to identify possible improvements; and 4. Publication of process maps with comments, suggestions and recommendations. The exercise in social services has brought a number of tangible benefits, including: • Identification of differences between documented processes and what actually happens ‘on the ground’; • Better understanding between managers and staff around high level objectives and how operational processes contribute to them; • Identification of immediate and longer term improvements which have improved both efficiency and effectiveness; • Ownership and buy-in from staff, helping to build a greater culture of challenge within the department; • Examination of the interaction and synergy of processes between partner agencies, for example in the health sector; and • Review of key processes to accommodate new requirements under the Unified Assessment Process. The key remaining challenge is to extend the approach within social services and more widely across the council – the benefits obtained so far need to be communicated to secure further investment necessary for this to happen. Source: Welsh Local Government Association

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How technical you want your flowcharts to be depends primarily on what they are for and who will use them. The purpose of flowcharting is not to produce a highly technical and visually sophisticated diagram, but to help the service improve its performance by understanding its processes better. Highly technical flowcharts can be off-putting to staff unfamiliar with them. On the other hand, if flowcharts are to be used across a wide audience, there is merit in ensuring standard symbols are used. Appendix 1 contains the standard symbols used in process mapping flowcharts. Task flowcharts are particularly useful for showing the detail of what happens on a day-to-day basis. It is important that such flowcharts are constructed to show what actually happens rather than what should happen and as a result they are often known as ‘as-is flowchart.’ If the flowchart is constructed on the basis of ‘as should be’, it will lead to a conclusion that the process works efficiently and effectively and that no real performance improvement is required. Only by examining the actual flow of tasks will problems and shortcomings be revealed. An approach called walk-through can be useful at ensuring this. Walkthrough simply indicates that we follow the exact course of a particular process on a step-by-step basis (physically if possible) to confirm what really happens. This will normally require talking to the relevant staff involved in each particular task of the process and assessing what they actually do to complete that task (not what they should do). Clearly such an approach has to be undertaken sensitively and with mutual trust. Health check 2: Do staff always follow documented procedures? The answer is a definite no. In order to obtain staff buy-in you will need to offer assurance that staff will not be subject to any action for not following documented procedures - they might have made the change to improve the process.

4.1.4 Deployment flowchart The final type of flowchart that can be useful in process mapping is the deployment flowchart. This shows the different parts of the organisation (or the different organisations) involved in a particular process. Deployment flowcharts can be developed for any level flowchart – high-level, activity or task. Looking at processes this way again encourages a positive challenge attitude and stimulates consideration of reconfiguring or redesigning services. Deployment flowcharts can also be particularly useful at mapping responsibilities for complex inter-agency processes, ensuring each agency is clear about its own contribution and how that links to those of other partner agencies.

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Instead offer an amnesty to staff, as you want to establish how the process works in practice not how it has been previously documented.

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Business process mapping Local Government Data Unit - Wales

5. Process definition charts Flowcharts are all that some organisations use for their process mapping. However, there is a final diagram that might usefully be included: a process definition chart (PDC). The principles are shown in Figure 5.

Figure 5: Process definition chart

Constraints

Inputs

Process or Activity

Outputs

Resources/ Mechanisms

Activities are the functions or detailed tasks that make up a named process. Inputs are what are required to be able to complete the activities and produce the outputs. Typically, inputs are transformed or used up by the process, e.g., a person’s time, budget spend, physical materials etc. Outputs are produced by the process. Controls regulate the process. Controls might be internal (agreed procedures, standing orders, available budgets etc) or external (legislation, imposed standards or the limited availability of a given resource). Resources (or mechanisms) are required to produce the outputs. However, unlike inputs, resources are not used up or transformed during the process. Resources might include equipment, people, and facilities. A photocopier, for example, might be a resource for a process while supplies of paper and toner will be inputs.

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Business process mapping

A process definition chart for Activity 5.4 Book accommodation (Figure 3) might look like that in Figure 6. Figure 6: PDC for activity 5.4 Book accommodation

Budget

Facilities request form

Room Booking System

Confirmed Booking

5.4 Book accommodation

Event Details

Finance Recharge Recorded

Admin Clerk

Source: The Map to Success – Audit Scotland

 will these inputs be available and, if so, where do they come from, i.e., which earlier processes produce outputs, which become the inputs to this process?  are the resources available to allow us to complete this process?  do we, and our staff, understand the key constraints that are relevant for this process. For example, does the admin assistant understand that there is an agreed room booking system? and  have we clarified the outputs from this process? Do they meet ‘customer’ requirements (in the sense that the next process will require these outputs as inputs).

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The key input is the facilities request form that must be completed. Resources are the event details plus someone to complete the activity, the admin assistant in this case. Constraints on the process are the available budget and the room booking system. The output is a confirmed booking together with the recording of a finance recharge. PDCs, like deployment flowcharts, can be produced for any of the flowcharts we have introduced. Potentially, flowcharts and PDCs can be combined to give a complete map of a particular process. These ‘complete’ process maps are typically produced using a standard methodology known as IDEF (Integration Definition for Function Modeling). While the complete process map may look complex, it does serve a number of useful purpose by forcing us to consider:

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Business process mapping Local Government Data Unit - Wales

6. How to do process mapping Having seen what process mapping involves, and gained some insight into its potential contribution to service improvement, this section provides brief pointers on how do to go about process mapping. A simple step approach, like the one that follows, can be helpful.

6.1 Decide why you want to process map First, we need to be clear as to why we are wanting to process map. The reason for this is that it will help us make appropriate decisions in terms of the effort and resources we put into the process mapping exercise. At its simplest, process mapping can be an informal approach to looking at how work is currently done. This might be undertaken by team members in preparation for the induction of a temporary member of staff to cover maternity leave. It might be part of a more formal exercise to challenge current practice and identify possibilities for change – for example as part of a business planning cycle, or a fundamental review undertaken as part of a council’s WPI improvement plan. At its most complex, process mapping could involve formally documenting all processes to produce an IDEF-based process atlas for the whole service (a process atlas shows all flowcharts and process maps from the high level to the task level, with all maps interconnected).

6.2 Decide which processes you will map Whilst it might seem appealing, it is not usually feasible to process map your entire service at one go. You need to prioritise which processes to look at first. For example, you might decide to focus on processes:  Which are core, or critical, to successful delivery of your service and/ or the organisation’s overall priorities;  In highly visible front line services such as customer services, or functions that directly support the front-line;  Where performance trends are not encouraging;  Where a significant problem or shortcoming has been identified which poses a potential risk to your council’s overall performance and/or reputation; and/or  About which you have received recurring complaints from customers.

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Case study 4: Orthopedic services in an NHS trust The Trust opted to map the whole patient journey, from referral to discharge from the orthopaedic service. It took time but gave a clear idea of some of the key issues and frustrations. They had not realised how many hoops the patient had to jump through in order to get from beginning to end. The team found the map an invaluable source of reference for their improvement work from the beginning. They realised they had to carefully prioritise the changes to be made. They focused on the ‘achievable’ and were able to make significant improvements as a consequence. Source: Improvement Leaders’ Guide to Process Mapping, analysis and redesign: NHS Modernisation Agency

6.3 Decide who is going to be involved Process mapping is primarily about trying to see where you can improve your performance. To get the most out of process mapping you need to involve the right people. Clearly this will vary from service to service, and roles and responsibilities will need to be clearly defined. It can be helpful – either formally or informally – to identify and involve the following:  the process owner – the individual (or group) with the authority to make changes to the process;  process members – people operationally involved in the process being mapped;  a process supplier – someone from another team which supplies inputs, resources or constraints to the process being mapped; and  a process customer – someone who is reliant on the output from this process for their own work.

The answer is probably no or that that they think they know. Many processes have operated for some time, with changes having been made either informally or to address a specific issue at a specific time. Even if they were written down when initially designed the document is unlikely to reflect what actually happens now. The people who understand enough detail to do process mapping are the staff that have the day-today operational responsibility. The message here is not to rely on managers alone but to involve operational staff when process mapping.

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Health check 3: Do management know how processes operate?

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Business process mapping Local Government Data Unit - Wales

6.4 Produce the flowcharts and maps There are no formal ‘rules’ to producing process maps other than accepted methodologies such as IDEF. A number of common ‘success factors’, however, should be considered:  management commitment to the exercise. If the exercise is seen by those involved as yet another management ‘fad’, it is unlikely to produce worthwhile results;  effective communication with those involved and those who might be affected so they know what process mapping is about and why it is being undertaken;  developing a systematic approach to process mapping and how the results will be used to help improve performance. The purpose of process mapping is to improve performance and service delivery;  providing adequate training to those involved, particularly if a formal approach to the production of process maps is being taken;  providing adequate time and resources for those involved; and  looking for quick wins – processes which may be relatively quick and easy to change and improve and that will show immediate benefits to those who do the work. This will encourage the mapping team in its further efforts and will also send positive messages to other staff about the purpose and benefits of mapping.

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Case Study 5: Denbighshire County Council Like all councils in Wales, following reorganisation of local government in 1996 the newly formed Denbighshire County Council was faced with the challenge of synchronising varying approaches to service delivery that had been used by the former county and district councils. Obviously in doing this the Council sought to build on the best of existing practice to optimise effectiveness and efficiency. In no area was the need for this as evident as in handling first time enquiries from the public. Performance in this area was seen as below standard, and the benefits to obtaining improvement were of obvious value to residents and the Council in terms of reputation. A fundamental question for the Council was the degree to which it would be possible to address current shortcomings by shifting tasks from ‘back’ to ‘front office’. As part of its Implementing Electronic Government strategy, Denbighshire set about analysing business processes in relation to high volume public contacts. Two Business Process Analysts were appointed, and they worked with external consultants to map processes in these areas. The work was done in a number of stages: 1. Initial research, leading to the production of ‘As is’ process maps; 2. Assessing of these processes using a ‘Process Challenge Document’ and engagement of staff in a debate on the opportunities for improvement through the transfer of functions to front office; and 3. Using the intelligence gathered to design ‘as should be’ maps, to be implemented via clear action plans and signed off by the relevant manager.

Source: Welsh Local Government Association

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Denbighshire’s approach provides an example of a successful partnership between its own specialist staff and external consultants in introducing the concept and practice of process mapping. Up front technical, software and consultancy/facilitation support helped internal specialists develop their own awareness and skills, which could then be taken forward in developing the approach in other areas of service across the Council.

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7. Using process maps No service will want to produce process maps for the sake of it. They are intended to help understand and improve processes. However, this can be achieved on several different levels and each level will depend on the service itself and its approach to improvement. These simple steps set out how process maps can be used for improvement.

7.1 Understand your own processes At their simplest, process maps help ensure that you properly understand your own processes: how work is done, who does the work, what inputs and resources are required, what outputs are produced and the constraints under which work is completed. The value of such understanding for yourself and your staff should not be underestimated. All too often we take it for granted that, “everyone knows how things are done around here”.

7.2 Make sure your processes link with those of your partners Given that it is highly unlikely that you will be providing services to your customers without some support from other internal services and/or, increasingly from external agencies, process maps are a useful way of ensuring that your processes link with those of your partners at all levels. The use of a deployment flowchart can help ensure responsibilities are identified and agreed. Complete process maps make it clear what the various dependencies are between your activities and those of your partners – where you are reliant on them for inputs or resources and where they may be reliant on you.

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7.3 Benchmark your processes Once you have mapped your key processes, there is an ideal opportunity to benchmark your processes with those of other organisations to help you compare performance and identify opportunities for improvement. Process maps enable you to look at the resources and costs involved (detailing inputs and resources) as well as the ‘deliverables’ – the quantity/quality of the outputs. Because the benchmark data you require is clearly defined (from the map), this means that there is no need to go into a detailed, laborious, time-consuming (and frustrating) data benchmark exercise with partners. A sharply focused collection of key process data can be organised with attention then going into why performance differences between partners’ processes occur:  Is it because different inputs are used?  Is it because different outputs are produced?  Is it because processes are organised and managed in different ways?  What improvements to your processes can you now identify?

Health check 4: Could process mapping become a cottage industry?

7.4 Improve your processes Given a full understanding of your processes, it is almost inevitable that you and your staff will start thinking about how they can be improved. Questions resulting from process mapping might include: Can we simplify the process? Can we remove certain tasks that are not really adding value? Can we realign tasks and responsibilities with the people involved?

Local Government Data Unit - Wales

Running along side the improvement agenda in local government is a myriad of intra and inter authority working groups. Some of the groups have been very effective and others less so. One of the issues with some of the less effective groups is that they have spent so much time, for example, collecting data for benchmarking, that there is little appetite to do much with the outputs in terms of service improvement. Therefore, before embarking on a process mapping exercise, ensure that you have the commitment to use it for improvement, otherwise it will be effort wasted. Remember that unless you are mapping processes for, say, accreditation to an externally assessed standard, or to drive improvement in an identified service area, it is a means to an end and not an end in itself.

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Case study 6: Renfrewshire Council Like many other council services, the Finance and IT department in Renfrewshire Council has been conducting service reviews as part of its commitment to Best Value. One of these focused on council tax collection and as part of their efforts to develop detailed activity cost information, the department commissioned an external consultant to map the existing processes. Because of the benefits this produced in service performance, the department decided that process mapping would be used by staff involved in a subsequent service review looking at the accounting and budgeting service provided by the council. A small service review team was established, including staff from other departments who were seen as customers of accounting and budgeting, and a range of grades from within the function. A twoday workshop was organised to agree the remit for the review and to introduce staff to process mapping techniques. The team produced flow-charts for all its key processes and then used these to produce a detailed list of activities undertaken in each process. The team then went on to record staff time involved in each activity and to estimate a cost for this. This allowed the team to assess the costs of each process and the constituent activities and to identify the non-value adding activities. Around 11 per cent of all costs were eventually classed as being incurred by such non-value adding work. This led to a situation where the team were positively ‘challenging’ the way some work was done and whether some work needed to be done at all. The detailed activity information allowed the team to identify where this non-value adding work was happening and what the causes of this were. Overall, process mapping has helped the team understand activities better, developing an increased understanding of where time and costs are incurred and targeting improvements in the way the service is delivered. Source: The Map to Success – Audit Scotland

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Improvement of the process might take several forms: Streamlining: this involves looking at the existing process and considering options for eliminating or combining steps in the processes. We might do this by:  eliminating non-value adding parts of the process;  reducing checking, referrals for approval and sign-off; or  combining steps of the process. Redesign: this involves redesigning the existing process to standardise procedures, automate or de-skill a particular task, redesigning facilities and layout, incorporating technology changes. In our illustrative example, we could consider providing the admin assistant with direct IT access to the room booking system used by the Facilities manager. Reengineering: business process reengineering involves fundamental reviews of organisation structures and systems around core process maps. Could/should we alter the relevant parts of the organisational structure to enable processes to be carried out more efficiently and effectively? “Exxon Chemicals in the UK process mapped their travel booking system.As a result they were able to reduce the number of steps involved from 35 to 11 saving both time and costs.” DTI

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Business process mapping Local Government Data Unit - Wales

Case Study 7: Cardiff County Council To gain ISO 9000 accreditation, Cardiff County Council has committed to mapping all its processes using a standard process mapping software package. Via business plans posted on the Council’s CIS (Cardiff Improvement System) database, managers and all members of staff are able to access maps of processes across the council’s services, and see changes and improvements that have been made. The collation and updating of the process maps is supported by the Council’s corporate performance management section and coordinated within departments by specially trained and qualified Quality Coordinators. Recognised benefits of this approach have been encouraging a culture of challenge in relation to current processes and a growing willingness of managers and staff to modify them as part of ongoing service improvement. However, a number of challenges remain, including: • Spreading awareness and skills among managers and staff to prevent process mapping being seen as an end in itself and to optimise its use as a basis for re-engineering and a driver for change and improvement; • Encouraging interaction between sections and departments to facilitate the compilation of comprehensive activity flowcharts, which can then be used to drive whole-process improvement. Often activities and tasks within individual teams and sections work well, but it is how they fit with those carried out by colleagues in other parts of the council and beyond that affect the ultimate quality of service delivered to the customer; • Devising ways of critically challenging processes in the context of strategic objectives – processes may work well in themselves but deliver little in relation to the council’s overall priorities, or contravene its values. Source: Welsh Local Government Association

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8. Summary Process mapping is not rocket science. It provides a structured framework for any part of an organisation to review how it currently provides services to its customers. It encourages staff to challenge and then improve the way they carry out their work and deliver services. The purpose of process mapping is not to produce complex diagrams. It is to assist services in improving performance. It is a well-proven technique that can be used as services plan for continual improvement in their performance.

9. Further help Further help for those authorities beginning to process map is available from a number of sources:  Other manuals and briefings included in the following section;  The Local Government Data Unit – Wales and the Welsh Local Government Association – we are happy to help with individual queries and will, if there is sufficient demand, look to supplement this introductory briefing with formal training sessions for authorities; and  The contacts provided for the case studies from Welsh councils. We want to encourage practice - exchange between authorities, as this provides an opportunity for different councils to learn directly from each other.

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Business process mapping Local Government Data Unit - Wales

Standard flowcharting symbols Appendix 1 Start or end

Task or activity

Data

Stored Data

Delay A decision with two possible outcomes Document

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Further reading and references Appendix 2 Bal J. (1998) ‘Process analysis tools for process improvement’, The TQM Magazine 10, 5 342-354. Cheung Y. and Bal J. (1998) ‘Process analysis techniques and tools for improvement’, Business Process Management Journal 4,4 274-290. Collins, P. (1997) ‘Using process mapping as a quality tool’, Management Services Vol. 41 No. 3, pp 24-26. Bendell, Boulter and Kelly (1993) ‘Benchmarking for Competitive Advantage’, FT/Pitman Publishing. Hunt, V. Daniel (1996) ‘Process mapping. How to reengineer your business processes’, John Wiley and Sons. Lee R.G. and Dale B.G., ‘Business process management: a review and evaluation’, Business Process Management Journal 4,3 214-225. Reding K.F., Ratiiff R.L. and Fullmer R.R. (1998) ‘Flowcharting business processes’, Managerial Auditing Journal 13, 7 397-402. Slack N., Chambers S. and Johnson R. (2004) ‘Operations Management (4th ed.)’, Prentice Hall, Harlow – England. TQMI 1994 Business ‘Process Improvement. An Approach to Implementation’, TQMI. Yingling R. (1997) ‘How to manage key business processes’, Quality Progress, April, 107-110. Local Government Data Unit - Wales 27

Local Government Data Unit – Wales 8 Columbus Walk, Cardiff, CF10 4BY Telephone 029 2090 9500 Email [email protected] Web www.dataunitwales.gov.uk