The Government Legal Department (GLD) is the UK Government’s in-house legal organization. It employs over 1,400 lawyers who are located within different Government departments and geographical locations. The structure poses challenges for maintaining consistency in legal service delivery. Guidance and know-how was scattered across multiple lengthy documents and sharing of precedent advice decisions was inconsistent. Leadership wanted to demonstrate the value legal added to complex government work and ensure that the organization was equipped to provide consistent advice efficiently.
GLD needed help to understand how to demonstrate value and identify and remove inefficiencies in advisory work in order apply this across the organization. We facilitated a pilot process improvement project on a complex government process on which legal advice was currently known to be delivered ad hoc and inconsistently across departments. We worked with senior government representatives to clarify the broader government process and legal advisory touchpoints, followed by workshops with GLD to identify current bottlenecks and identify improvements to increase the speed and consistency of legal advice. The team assisted GLD in extrapolating all of the legal touchpoints in the process into a checklist with links to associated guidance. This single checklist gives GLD lawyers a speedy, simple way to ensure all risks have been mitigated before government teams proceed in their process. A list of 58 improvements were generated and categorized as quick win or long term initiatives. Throughout the engagement, we coached the core GLD team in the process improvement methods being used in the workshops, and shared process tools, training materials , templates.
The process review and related outputs have enabled GLD to visualize their input to complex government initiatives, quickly train their lawyers and rationalize sources of knowledge for speedier, more consistent delivery of advice. GLD now understands the importance of proactively mitigating risks early and are also aware of further long term improvements for the legal team to provide to themselves and their internal clients. These are owned by a multi-department Centre of Excellence which was established as a result of the project. The approach proved that legal process improvement could be successfully applied to GLD advisory work and GLD is now equipped to run future process improvement initiatives independently.