Step 1—identify and define the problem
Produced in partnership with Beth Pipe of Bellis Learning Solutions Ltd
Step 1—identify and define the problem

The following Local Government guidance note Produced in partnership with Beth Pipe of Bellis Learning Solutions Ltd provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Step 1—identify and define the problem
  • Identifying waste
  • Client department as a barometer of efficiency
  • Involving the team
  • Logistics
  • Creating a business case

There are five key steps to improving efficiency:

  1. identify (define) what process needs improving

  2. measure the problem

  3. analyse your information

  4. improve the process

  5. control, ie embed the new process so it becomes business as usual

Management consultants often refer to this is as the DMAIC framework.

This Practice Note guides you through the first step. It explains two different methods you can use to identify and define which processes needs improving, ie by:

  1. finding out where your processes generate waste, as waste is an indicator of an inefficient process

  2. establishing whether your way of working delivers what your clients want (within reason, ie within the range of what you are willing to do for your clients)

It also describes some tactics you can use to get staff on board at this early stage.

Identifying waste

A good way of finding out where problems or bottlenecks exist within your department is to analyse the amount of waste generated. If you are doing something that does not contribute directly to the core purpose of your work, you are generating waste.

The table below shows different types of waste that commonly arise in legal teams.

Work through our Precedent: Identifying waste questionnaire to:

  1. establish where possible areas of waste exist within your current processes, and

  2. identify how you can measure the cost to the department by simply calculating