Preparing your workshop - Part 1

The purpose of this section is to make sure you have everything you need in advance to effectively run a business processing mapping workshop with your team.

Don’t skip this section - it’s important that you’ve done all the preparatory work in advance so that you can get the most out of the workshop.

Below, you’ll find a comprehensive list of everything you’ll need.

1. Purpose

Is your main purpose to ensure you have the most efficient process possible to realign roles where there are pressure points?

Or are you more focused to better understand the dependencies between different functions and ensure they are taken into account? For example, procurement linked to governance or payments linked to contract management.

Do you want to look at your whole procurement process and all the requirements of contract management?  Or do you want to focus on a particular procurement coming up or a contract that needs attention?

This toolkit sets out how you can conduct your process mapping over a 2 day period, covering the complete commissioning lifecycle. You might want to conduct your process mapping in smaller chunks over a longer period – decide what works for your councils and the resources you have.

Whilst the key purpose is to create streamlining to create more agile, responsive, nimble processes, there are the added benefits of working as a group to create solutions – this is particularly important when there is a new or reorganised team.

It’s a good idea to form objectives from the start, outlining what you want to achieve from the process mapping.  The objectives form a good foundation to go back to if you feel you are going off track,  and a useful communication summary of why you have allocated time and resources to process mapping. Some of the objectives used by councils are below:

  • Capture the commissioning life cycle in process mapping – incorporating procurement and review of contract management
  • Use the knowledge and expertise of the team to consider any gaps, improvements or streamlining that can make an agile process
  • Assess the governance requirements for procurement and contract management
  • Document the process for contract management based on the current guidance and procedures  
  • Address any discrepancies in practice across the council
  • Confirm roles and responsibilities linked to activity related to the commissioning lifecycle
  • Incorporate the requirements of the Procurement Act 2023 in the council processes for procurement and contract management

Regardless of your main objectives it is important the purpose clearly communicated to every stakeholder before starting the mapping.

2. People

You need to ensure that you have a representative at every stage of the procurement process and contract management requirements so there are no gaps.

The key players are:

  • Your procurement / commercial team: crucial to being involved is the team leading procurement and oversight of contract management. They have the knowledge and expertise of the process, and the implementors of any change!  They will need to be involved in the process mapping.
  • A core team: A smaller group made up from procurement and contract management will form the core team who will be involved in the whole process mapping – this should be people who can combined their collective knowledge to track the whole end-to-end commissioning process.
  • Senior manager as sponsor: It will often be the case that senior managers with their responsibility for lots of different functions will not be able to be involved in the actual process mapping – but they need to endorse what you are doing and be open to the results and findings.  Also, they can help prioritise this work and get people to attend if there is reluctance!

As well as that, you’ll need some other viewpoints too, so see if you can include people from:

For business process mapping to be successful, you need all of the relevant stakeholders involved in the process. If the activity isn’t inclusive, it simply won’t work. Here’s an outline of the different roles.

3. Roles

Participants: this is the chance to work as a team, have a break from the day job to create an overview of what you do and how it links to others.  It’s a chance to be creative and come up with improvements.  Every voice should be respected and come with a willingness to participate.

The whole group can be in the region of 12-15 people – less than that and you might not get the whole overview, with a higher number you could find some people sit back and let others take the lead.  If you do have a larger number of people who need or want to be involved, you could break up into two groups – which is quite useful when looking at contracts and procurements of different values.

The core team is more like 4-5 people who know the end-to-end procurement process and contract requirements. You might want different people for the work on procurement and contracts, with more service reps looking at contract processes if more devolved to different functions in the council.

A facilitator: managing the session, ensuring all participants are involved and keeping the pace. You might need more than one facilitator if working in different groups or support in documenting the activity. A facilitator can be from the service, another department or external to the council. Impartiality is critical, and sometimes helpful if they don’t know your processes so can ask the obvious questions.

There can also be particular roles of the participants to help the process, but ensure they are still fully involved:

  • Sequence keeper: making sure activities are recorded with the right timeline
  • Document recorder: ensure that all important documents are logged
  • Decision curator: confirming which decisions need to be made at which point and by which function in the council

4. Equipment

A venue that can accommodate the participants, with a long table or preferably a wall for the process map (two rooms if you split into groups). It will also get noisy, so think of others around you.

  • Roll of paper (big enough to map out your whole process – so big!)
  • Flip chart with paper
  • Tape
  • Post-it notes
  • Camera (documenting the process and taking record of the process maps)
  • Stationery (ruler, scissors, pens & pencils, red dots or red pen to highlight risk etc.)

5. A project plan

It's not essential, but you might want to create a project plan that you can share with stakeholders, covering the following areas:

  • Outline the objectives of the process mapping
  • A list of who is involved, roles and expectations
  • Itinerary for the sessions
  • Timeline for follow-up

We have produced a project plan template you might find useful.

Input from Corporate Colleagues

As referenced above, involvement of corporate colleagues to identify where improvements could be made from their point of view can be really valuable. They can also support any roll out of changes across the council.  Their involvement can be through taking part in the process mapping sessions or carving a bit of time out of the two days for corporate colleagues to review the process maps.  Their input can be based on the following:  

Why you need them
Legal Team
To understand how processes fit within the overall legal framework of the local authority.
Identify and mitigate legal risks.
Ensure compliance with relevant laws, regulations, and policies.
Improve the council's legal position in procurement and contracts.
Finance Team
To ensure that processes aligns with the local authority’s financial policies and procedures.
Identify potential cost savings or efficiencies.
Improve financial control and follow payment mechanisms.
Ensure activities are consistent with the council’s financial regs.
Escalate and address identified risk.
Governance team
To ensure processes are compliant with relevant delegated authorities and decision making requirements.
Align the processes with informal and formal decision making.
Enhance the local authority’s risk management and compliance position.
Improve the transparency and accountability of the procurement process.
Provide guidance and support to the team as needed.
Internal audit
To use their expertise to spot areas of concern and use lessons learned to inform improvement
Be proactive in spotting weaknesses in systems  
Pull on previous audits to help inform risk mitigation
Provide an overview how improved processes in procurement and contract management can support the wider council

What if I can't logistically get everyone together in person?

Ideally, you run this workshop in person. It’s easier to collaborate, ensure that everyone’s perspectives are being held, and make progress. However, for some local authorities, getting everyone together may be difficult, if not impossible.

Fear not!

It’s also possible to run Business Process Mapping remotely.

To make sure you do this effectively, here are some best practices:

  • Aim and Frame:
  • As with in-person sessions, you need to ensure your have the right people involved and emphasise:

  • Aim:
    Clearly state the aim at the beginning. What is your definition of success? Keep on coming back to this. If you don’t do this, it’s easy to get lost in the detail.

  • Frame:
    Is your intention to  optimise the process or start from scratch? Are you considering the whole procurement process or just elements of it? Whatever you choose make sure everyone’s on the same page.

  • Visual frameworks:
    There many  process mapping tools online that you can use to run this workshop. We’ve shared a list of some of them at the end of the toolkit, each with pros and cons so you can compare them. Pick one of them, commit to it, make sure everyone with a role is familiar with how to use them in advance. Lots of these tools have pre-existing templates so you don’t have to start from scratch!

  • Facilitation and participants:
    Make it very clear who is running the workshop and that everyone who has a role is familiar with it. Also, no-one should hid behind a screen - full participation is still required.

  • Prepare in advance:
    Sounds obvious but it’s even more important virtually. Make sure everyone knows the agenda and clearly communicate the purpose and ideal outcome of the workshop.

  • Breakout rooms:
    Breakouts are useful to boost engagement in remote workshops and get the best out of everyone. Break your team out into small groups frequently where they can each tackle a part of the process and share it with the wider team as feedback.

  • Flexible structure:
    2 days of sitting in front of your screen for 8 hours isn’t what humans were designed to do. Have multiple breaks. And feel free also to turn the workshop into 3 three-hour workshops over 3 days if you think that’s what’s best for your team.


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