Would you plan to spruce up your home without consulting your significant other? As someone who has spent most weekends of the past two months painting our flat, it would have been a disaster waiting to happen if we hadn’t had a discussion before getting the rollers out.

This alignment of goals was a several stage process:

Firstly, we had to agree on what our target was; what needed to be covered, and how to prioritise those areas that would give the highest return for our effort. We could paint the back of the closet door that is hidden away, or the same amount of time could be allocated to the hallway walls that everyone sees.

Secondly, we had to evaluate the current situation: reviewing our existing position (classic plain white), and if that was something we wished to continue with or switch. Further to this, we needed to see what other colours were on the market and if they suited our needs.

Finally, we needed to make sure we were both on board with the decisions, and plan who would be responsible for which parts of the process, from trips to B&Q; to moving the furniture; to cleaning and taping; to painting which areas; and washing the brushes afterwards. Key to this as well was also minimising disruption to our lives – ensuring enough time to ventilate the bedroom before sleeping in it, and continued access to work clothes in the wardrobe were essential strategies!


If the direction I was taking with this blog wasn’t obvious (aside from showing off my Van Gough levels of skill with a one-coat gloss), ensuring the key players are involved are as relevant to a personal project as they are to laying out your Cost Improvement Plan (CIP).

Ensuring everyone understands what is happening and is pulling in the same direction is essential for ensuring a successful CIP, and underlying every informed decision is easy access to reliable information.

As stated in the Audit Commission’s report Delivering sustainable cost improvement programmes:

“Organisations need good quality data on costs, cost drivers and comparative costs for planning and making decisions about service delivery. Assumptions should be realistic and based on accurate information [and] Engagement from the wider directorate team is necessary at the start of the process. This ensures the schemes are realistic and owned by the directorate teams”

Over the past three years, we have been working closely with NHS Trusts to provide the data they require to make informed decisions, with the ability to split data by Divisions, Directorates, Care Groups, or Cost Centres key to driving value. Regardless of if you are using the BravoAdvantage for Health suite or not, we have produced a 7 step guide to running an exceptional review with your Directorate leads to ensure you are aligned on the scale and plan for the job ahead:


One final point before you dive in:

“Successful organisations consistently highlighted the need … to approach CIP planning and delivery as a continual process”, so try to ensure your process is repeatable, and don’t be afraid to change your mind on the paint colour if it looks different now the sample is on the plaster!