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Developing capability and capacity

Transport | Business Plan Development

Growth Needs Assessment

Journey4 were asked to provide support to Northern Trains with the development of its business plan for 2021/22. Northern Trains were brought into public ownership in 2020 and the business plan was a requirement of the Department for Transport, (DfT) and provided the case for funding levels and investment.

Timescales were very short with the details being published just prior to Christmas holidays and the submission due in February. To be able to respond to the business plan requirements in these timescales Northern Trains needed additional capacity and capability to develop a quality submission and allow them to continue to deliver on their short-term operational priorities.

Our approach

We embedded a team of consultants with experience of writing and managing complex government bids and business plans and split the requirements in to 7 workstreams, each with a lead person identified in the organisation to act as ‘subject matter experts and to coordinate the information gathering. 

Our support focussed on business plan coordination, plan writing and reviewing, designing templates and visual aids and a director providing strategic oversight.

With Covid-19 restrictions in place at the time we mobilised our team to work smartly, from home, utilising remote working technology and collaborative online tools.

Impact of our work

We completed the business plan submission in 6 weeks from mobilisation, and submitted the initial plan to the DfT, after senior leadership team approval. Further revisions to the business plan were made following feedback from DfT before the business plan was approved and funding agreed. This allowed the business to plan for its implementation in time for the start of the new financial year.