by Merielle Ghali | 22 February 2017
A Unit of approximately 50 people within a Government Department needed to move to a much larger Government Department within the space of two months, an unusually fast time-frame for a move of this nature.
This presented many challenges including:
Merielle Ghali took a leading role in co-ordinating the move. Her remit was to act as the lead representative for the unit, advising and helping them to communicate effectively, and holding them to account.
To ensure a smooth move, Merielle:
The Change Champions were critical to the success of the move. Champions were selected from the Directorates of the Unit and were able to use their insight and networks to help Merielle gather and share information. Champions assisted on a practical level by owning logistics on move day itself.
With an aggressive two-month time-line from announcement to move day, rapidly integrating the Unit into the culture of the new Department was it was a high priority. Merielle worked closely with staff to manage expectations, while ensuring that voices were heard, to reach sensible cost effective solutions.
The two most challenging aspects of the move were IT and HR. Both were tackled with phased moves.
The IT move happened over six months, so that staff could move to new systems gradually. Temporary wifi solutions were set up to support this, along with sessions with IT support and floorwalking. GOV.UK webpages were updated and Merille negotiated to have them set up as a stand-alone agency to future-proof the Unit for potential further moves. Unit staff were trained to upload their own content.
Staff had concerns about differences in pay grades and terms and conditions across the two Departments. Merielle arranged opportunities for individuals to speak with HR to discuss concerns and understand the new working arrangements.
Once individuals physically moved into their new office space, Merielle led on aftercare, managing queries and problems, with a list of live and often complex issues. One example was poor lighting, which required the procurement of special lighting. The Unit kept all records and logs to act as a blueprint for future moves.
Staff feedback on the move was very positive, with staff saying that they felt wanted as part of the new Department. Merielle won two awards for her work supporting the move.
I have extensive experience in project management, change management, policy development and implementation, as well as people management. I have worked in the public sector for over 30 years, including the House of Commons, Cabinet Office, DTI, the Postal Regulator, College of Policing and the National Police Improvement Agency.