How adaptable do ANSPs need to be?

Written by: Ben Stanley
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How should an ANSP be structured to best meet its strategic objectives?

This is a difficult question to address, sometimes involving complex change across an organisation. But it becomes impossible if the objectives or organisational goals are also changing or not well understood. These evolving objectives could be due to political and regulatory factors, changing demand (traffic), or reshaping of the competitive landscape.

ANSPs have more incentive than most to plan effectively – their future income is determined by a five-year performance plan and unit rate calculated to recover the costs of providing the predicted service. The current performance plans being drafted (RP3) look ahead to December 2024, and the uncertainties in that timeframe are significant.

ANSPs must therefore understand possible scenarios in the coming 5-10 years, and design in the organisational flexibility to be able to cope. This flexibility will be seen in staffing, working practices (and collective agreements), processes and reporting lines, decision-making and investment planning.

There is often a cost to designing in flexibility across an organisation. The monetary cost is a trade-off; how much are users willing to pay to ensure a level of "future-proofing" for the service provided? But there is also a human cost if the organisational culture is not aligned; uncertainty and low motivation can result. Introducing flexibility by design requires careful change management at the HR level.

Leadership in the organisation should identify areas of acceptable flexibility and understand potential impacts on the organisation in terms of structure, roles and processes. For example, could ANSPs model resourcing requirements for a range of programme deployment milestones and identify what could be adjusted within the constraints of a single unit rate? What are the resultant impacts on job descriptions, role flexibility and reporting lines that may be needed?

More than ever before, successful organisations are those which are flexible internally and externally, positioning themselves to take advantage of change. How is your organisation doing?

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