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Manchester City Council

QA delivered a transformational training solution to Manchester City Council by embedding the 'Manchester Method' project management methodology across the council.

The Challenge

Manchester City Council (MCC) pioneered a public sector tailored model of project management aimed at ensuring consistency and reliability in the delivery of major projects. Following the development of the methodology, MCC wanted to drive its deployment across the increasingly diverse range of projects delivered by the council and embed the method in the way its people worked.

To achieve this, a cultural shift was required. As such, MCC needed an organisation that really understood how to translate learning into measurable day-to-day business change.

Our aim is to achieve better outcomes for the people of Manchester through the effective delivery of projects.

Kevin Fletcher

Strategic Planner | Manchester City Council

The Solution

QA worked closely with MCC to develop an industry-leading training programme in the Manchester Method. Building upon a pre-existing course from a previous supplier, further content was added and the lecture slides were streamlined to introduce a more interactive learning method.

The learning experience was designed to maximise participation, employing a practical approach that led attendees through relevant examples. As such, the programme utilised an MCC-specific case study based on a SureStart project, for which delegates had to complete project work, including: stakeholder analysis, organisation structures, risk analysis, etc.

Along with these practical examples, designed to enable learners to immediately relate the method to their day-to-day work, the programme also offered attendees opportunities to discuss any issues that they may have been facing in their own roles and how the method could be applied to improve these situations. The course lasted two days and, in order to provide adequate time for discussion and for the exercises to be completed, a maximum of 12 delegates were enrolled on each course.

To ensure the method was embedded across the structure of the organisation, training was extended to all levels of the Council, including Board level. As the time commitment of a two-day course was not viable for senior management at MCC, a condensed version of the course was produced for Board members. Taking the form of a two-hour presentation, this concentrated session was designed to focus on Board responsibilities and expectations.

The programme incorporated a number of examples in which previous projects using the Manchester Method have been successful. This inspirational material has contributed to a strong uptake of the methodology.


Manchester City Council aims to continue to develop Manchester as a City of national and international significance where people choose to live and which companies want to invest in.

The Council aims to improve the health, education, security and quality of life of its citizens by working with them to promote and support sustainable communities which are safe, friendly and clean.

The Outcome

A number of significant benefits have been realised since the embedding of the methodology, including:

  • 30-34% increase in the number of projects delivered within agreed time and cost parameters over the past five years
  • 92-95% of projects are now delivered within tolerances
  • To date almost 1500 MCC staff and delivery partners engaged in project delivery have benefitted from the course that has become a key element of personal development, collaborative working and capacity building in the Council

The Method has enabled a cultural change at MCC, with teams displaying:

  • Greater understanding of why projects are taking place and how they relate to the organisation as a whole
  • A more structured approach to realising benefits, with capture, review and assessment taking place throughout the project lifecycle
  • Greater awareness of the importance of stakeholder management, along with an ability to identify key stakeholders and present a benefits-based view of projects
  • A more structured way of thinking consistent with national best practice with a focus on the business case, document management, progress reporting, risk management, issue resolution and change management

The 'Manchester Method' has since been adopted by many organisations across the public and private sectors.

We selected QA as our training provider due to their industry experience, cost-effective delivery and their desire to help us achieve a higher level of project maturity within the organisation.

Kevin Fletcher

Strategic Planner | Manchester City Council

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