Foreign & Commonwealth Office Service

Russam was engaged by Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FDCO) Services on ‘Project Themis’ and provided ‘Resource as a Service’ for over 20 roles (from 1/12/2017 to 19/9/2019). 

Russam appreciated that FCOS was a key player in continuing to promote Britain as an outward-looking, bold nation with a global approach and the key role FCOS played as a partner to ensuring Britain’s continued global success.

We understood the significant change that FCOS had undergone through 2016/17 including the redesigning of business functions, embedding of new people values and creating stronger regional operational delivery and culture.

The journey to the creation of Secure Global Services (SGS) with greater focus on regional delivery and development of a better ‘fit for purpose’ integrated planning organisation (including people, processes and systems) would bring FCOS in line with the trend of many global businesses facing the challenge of delivering better services in a leaner manner, with fewer resources, leveraging the best technology and delivering improved measurable value.

The scope of the statement of work and our experience was aligned. Themis as a Business Change Programme delivered enhanced capability for FCOS across People, Process and Standards and Technology to deliver long-term change and is not simply a software enhancement programme.

We defined a team that had the experience across these dimensions and had ‘lived and breathed’ organisational change across the public sector in secure environments and brought ‘best-in-class’ corporate experience to the programme.

We understood that embedding this change would be challenging and we were acutely aware of the primary need to deliver the programme in a short time frame without compromising on quality.  We supported FCOS with professionals who delivered to the exact work package deliverables and who were committed to ensuring that this business change programme was fully embedded.

Russam leveraged our experience where necessary to provide positive challenge to deliverables and timescales and accelerated deployment where needed.

Programme Plan

The Themis programme initiated in December 2017 following approval by Investment Committee of an Outline Business Case in October 2017 and the production of a Full Business Case in November 2017. 

The following stages occurred: 

  • A Business Case creation, approval and programme initiation stage: June to December 2017. Funding was approved for the next stage.
  • A High-level business and technical design; MSPOL Cloud based test system setup and configuration stage: January to March 2018.
  • A ‘Proof of Capability’ stage to demonstrate potential using real ESD(S) project information and obtain technical and security approval for ‘Tech Overhaul’ device access to MS Office365/Project Online Cloud services: April to July 2018. Funding was approved at the July 2018 Investment Board for the next (Delivery) stage. 

A Delivery stage from August to December 2018 comprising: 

  • Alongside support, facilitated through Product & Professional training centred on FCO Services’ project community to move project plan and schedule quality along a defined maturity pathway. 
  • The configuration of a ‘production’ MS Project Online system to hold project schedules generated in MS Project Professional 2016 – together with project control information & documentation. 
  • The inclusion of Generic and Named resources within project schedules to support allocation & commitment to projects within MSPOL Resourcing.
  • The introduction of Maintenance and Control standards and activities to ensure project information quality is visible and subject to assurance and improvement. 
  • Documenting new P3M standards, processes, gates and checkpoints in alignment with FCO Services’ Project Process Map. 
  • The production of multiple Reports and Dashboards using the Power BI software. In July 2018, Investment Board approved the scope, timescale, and resources necessary for the Delivery stage to be achieved. The programme has closed in accordance with this timescale and within the approved expenditure levels. 

As a result of the introduction of these capabilities, significant changes have already occurred in the quality and control of these four critical activities. Of particular impact has been the creation and maintenance of project schedules towards the ‘Level 6’ quality status required for resource allocation and commitment using the MSPOL capabilities. This has required all Project Managers across FCO Services to create and maintain project schedules developed in MS Project Professional 2016, and to do so to standards not previously achieved. These project schedules are aligned to the ‘Project Process Map’ and 6SCP commercial stages with revised control gates being introduced mandating new standards. Milestones for Logistics and Procurement activities are required to be included in project schedules, as are tasks with associated Named and Generic resources driven off standard Product Breakdown Structures and Work Breakdown Structures. A Project Management Plan is now mandatory for all projects wishing to go through the Start Gate. Views, reports and Dashboards supporting Project, Programme and Portfolio levels of analysis and insight have been created using the MSPOL and PowerBI software.


The capability delivered by the Themis Programme allows realisation of benefits at the organisational, team and individual levels. Detailed material has been provided to line management to support engagement with all affected staff, to explain what these benefits are from the perspective of staff in their different roles. 

In summary the benefits as defined in the Programme Business Case are: 

Revenue / Profit 

Increases in revenue/profit margin deriving from: 

  • Improved forward visibility of projects and resources, enabling work smoothing and additional delivery capacity. 
  • Improved visibility into real-time project detail through drill down capability on plans, cost and resource reporting, project performance, risks, slippages, dependencies, trend analysis and project assurance reporting. 
  • Improved utilisation of workforce deriving from better scheduling. 
  • Lower levels of non-billable overheads per revenue £ earned. 
  • Improved delivery quality – less waste, rework. 
  • Better planning allowing improved recruitment and training of resources, improved materials planning and management, reduced travel costs and downtime, reduced dependency on contractors. 
  • Improved understanding of project profitability and estimating as a result of better quality information on true costs versus budget/bid. 

Staff Retention 

Higher levels of staff satisfaction with job content/roles: 

  • Well-designed processes and enabling technology – providing staff with quality tools to do their jobs. 
  • Moving roles away from the reactive fixing of poor processes and information flow towards scenario modelling and proactive solution identification and action. 

Customer Satisfaction 

Improved customer satisfaction: 

  • Competitive quoting based on better understanding of costs, risks and higher levels of visibility of pipeline. 
  • Responsiveness to change requests, and ability to rapidly analyse resulting impact. 

Supply Chain Satisfaction 

Closer relationships with external supply chain: 

  • Improved planning and visibility of materials requirements offering opportunities to reduce project delays and costs, improve quality, and improve commercial offers from the market. 
  • Opportunities for closer working with supply chain partners to innovate and develop New Products pipeline. 

Support for FCO Diplomacy 20:20 Strategy 

  • Enablement of the ‘Planning Office’ as a capability and service offering, delivered using Cloud MS Project Online capability. 
  • Offers opportunities to optimise Programme activity and spend profiles against FCO priorities, resources and constraints. 

Alignment with FCO Services’ Strategy, Target Operating Model and with Wider Government Digital Strategy 

  • Underpinning FCO Services Corporate Plan strategy and objectives. 
  • Support for FCO Services business model, structure and skills development plan. 
  • Themis Programme report – Delivery phase closure Maturity and Realisation phase V1 0 FINAL 22 
  • Information enabling more strategic human resourcing activities and plans – recruitment, training, development, and contractor sourcing.
  • Information within the PPM toolset held at Tier 1 level

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