North Highland, in partnership with The Florida Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ), took a fragmented organization and created highly specialized teams to tackle procurement and provider management functions – enabling a new way of doing business. The results include streamlined processes and skilled up teams who understand the value of working together for sustainable change.
The Florida Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) is Florida’s state agency responsible for most aspects of juvenile delinquency prevention, detention, and rehabilitation services and operations. Backed by Florida’s State Legislature, the organization recently shifted operational focus to a preventative approach – aiming to keep the 60,000 youth in their care from entering the system in the first place.
DJJ delivers 65% of its services through private providers – procuring services from more than 150 providers and spending approximately $290M each year.
The DJJ previously operated in four distinct program areas: Prevention, Detention, Residential, and Probation. Each program area maintained its own procurement and provider management personnel but shared a centralized Quality Improvement (QI) team responsible for legislative mandated annual monitoring events. The approach was fragmented with little agency-wide coordination. What the department found was inconsistent service quality, lack of enforceable and measureable performance standards, limited amount of knowledge sharing, and general duplication of effort.
A shift in business strategy to a preventive focus was based on national best practices and would be accomplished through a “Roadmap to System Excellence.” The department recognized the need to align its approach to procurement to execute the new strategy.Working with North Highland has been unlike any other experience we have had with consultants. They worked more as team members than contracted consultants, helping us deliver the project and teaching us to run the new organization we were creating together. At the end we the client had complete command of how and why everything had been done and what needed to be done to continue to be successful in our new world.
North Highland was selected to lead the project based on a proven track record of supporting clients through complex procurements, expertise in complex business process reengineering, and the ability to implement realistic and sustainable solutions.
Through the initial assessment, a number of challenges were identified:
- Varying planning practices and coordination across program areas
- Inconsistent processes that generated re-work, inefficiencies, and lower quality outcomes
- Skills and capabilities gaps
- Inefficiencies due to fragmented staff duties
- One-size-fits-all approach to monitoring
- Complexity in tracking, reporting and investigating of incidents provided little insight into trends
These challenges led to inferior outcomes for the department. Operating in siloes meant scaling benefits weren’t realized, resources were wasted, and the shortfall was further amplified by the lack of alignment with a strategic plan.
As a result of the findings, North Highland’s client engagement evolved from an assessment and strategy recommendation to a provider management and shared services implementation project.
The SolutionAs the first phase of the project, North Highland developed a comprehensive assessment to articulate both the current state and desired future state – highlighting improvement opportunities for the department. North Highland then worked with the client to develop a functional model and processes for the whole procurement lifecycle, split into four components which would eventually become part of the Shared Services.
Based on future state models, North Highland worked with the client to move all functions of contract management and most program monitoring responsibilities into newly created units of the Shared Services structure to support the rest of the contract lifecycle.
As a result of the transition to the shared service model, the individuals responsible for the previously siloed, independent contract management duties of the four program areas were combined in an efficient and highly specialized Bureau of Contract Management. Individuals with monitoring responsibilities were consolidated into the newly created Bureau of Monitoring and Quality Improvement.
The establishment of an Incident Operations Center, brought standard processes, reporting, and SLAs to the tracking and investigating of incidents. This new triage process categorizes and distributes incidents to the right unit based on its complexity and gravity. As a result, incidents receive immediate attention by highly specialized investigative personnel, helping improve cycle times for incident resolution.
All of this was implemented through a pilot phase which tested the new organization and processes in a single region over eight weeks, and ensured a seamless launch. This roll-out approach was critical to testing as it identified early examples of successes and allowed for adjustments based on lessons learned.
A monitoring planning and prioritization tool, was developed to categorize every program based on statistical analysis of program attributes and past performance.
The end-to-end procurement and contract lifecycle enables the new business strategy by allowing for better coordination, planning, and deployment of resources. Improved communication facilitates knowledge sharing, best practice learning, and long-term planning. The implementation of a demanded governance for the procurement organization allows the client to be more proactive.All roles within the Shared Service are now operating from harmonized job descriptions that accurately reflect the duties performed. The hand-overs between work areas are clearly defined, standardized, and supported by measureable and enforceable SLAs.
Through the monitoring prioritization tool, activities have been shifted away from low-impact programs to higher-risk profiles, where the monitors have a bigger impact on the youth in the Department’s care.
In the end, North Highland can look back at an extraordinary collaboration with the DJJ and realize the impact the organization has on children in the state of Florida. All of the department’s actions are measured against the benefits of the youth in its care.
As a result of this project, clear expectations and outcomes are being achieved from contracted providers; who now operate as partners directed by the department. With the help of North Highland, other state agencies now see The DJJ as a leading example of 'how to do provider management right.'
For more information please contact:Barbara Ray