• NHS Improvement hires McKinsey to help with organisational development programme
  • Deal is worth £500,000
  • Comes two years after NHSI paid KPMG £630,000 to work on operating model and structure

NHS Improvement is paying McKinsey £500,000 to help clarify its purpose and work on a new organisational development programme, HSJ has learned. 

It is the second time NHSI has spent a sum of this order on management consultants to help with organisational design, having paid KPMG £630,000 to work on its culture, values and operating model when it was set up two years ago.

HSJ has seen a message sent to all NHSI staff by medical director Kathy McLean on 5 March, which referred McKinsey as “our new partners” in the initiative.

The message said McKinsey has begun working with the NHSI executive team “to develop our internal organisational development work”, to clarify NHSI’s “purpose and operating model”.

The consultants began working with NHSI around the beginning of the month. Their work was at an early stage “but will be moving at pace”, the message said.

As part of the work, NHSI executives were conducting interviews with provider chief executives and chairs on “what’s working well, what they find frustrating, what they think our purpose should be and what activities we should concentrate resources on”.

The project is understood to be separate to, but informed by, another piece of work being undertaken with NHS England on how the two arm’s length bodies can be brought more closely together. The results of that are expected before the end of March. It also follows Ian Dalton becoming NHSI chief executive in December and Baroness Harding taking over as chair at the end of October.

HSJ revealed in late 2015 that the then incoming NHSI chief executive Jim Mackey had brought in KPMG in a deal worth up to £1m. An NHSI spokesman said the final spend was around £630,000. The work produced a range of options for organisational form, which NHSI said influenced how the then new organisation was set up, bringing together Monitor and the NHS Trust Development Authority.

An NHSI spokesman said the two consultancy projects did not duplicate. He said the KPMG work focused on bringing “two disparate organisations” together to form NHSI and “this was very different work than that being undertaken by McKinsey”.

He added: “The NHS is facing the challenge of delivering services as efficiently as possible at the same time as meeting the growing demand from an ageing population.

“The way we as NHS Improvement operate has to change to support trusts [to] meet that challenge. As a learning organisation, we are also well aware that there are things we could do better.

“Using the crown commercial framework, we’ve hired McKinsey to look at and challenge our operating model and how we interact with trusts to ensure we’re supporting them in the best way possible.”