London Ambulance Service began in 1965. Since then, it has grown to become the UK’s busiest emergency ambulance service, dealing with around two million 999 calls and 1.5 million non-urgent calls every year.
London Ambulance Service (LAS) provides emergency and urgent healthcare for more than 7.5 million people living, working in, and visiting London. Governed by a Trust Board, LAS aims to provide its patients with the highest quality of care, which will contribute towards Londoners having health outcomes that are amongst the best in the world. LAS employs around 8,000 people and is the busiest emergency ambulance service in the UK, dealing with around two million 999 calls and 1.5 million non-urgent calls every year.
For LAS, guaranteeing ‘always-on’ technology to support its frontline workers and auxiliary staff is a critical necessity. However, the organisation’s CIO recognised that, to safeguard lifesaving services, the organisation’s complex IT estate needed upgrading, standardising, and future proofing. Key issues included network legacies and datacentre migration. LAS also needed to rationalise IT infrastructure, streamline IT service management (ITSM) operations, and introduce robust frameworks to manage architecture and change, achieve cost efficiencies and simplify ways of working. But, in such a busy organisation, in-house capacity was limited, so Mason Advisory was asked to provide additional skills and resources to support the roadmap design and implementation.
Mason Advisory provided a multi skilled team offering extensive, sector-aligned skills in programme management, IT architecture, IT service management, and operating model transformation. From day one of this significant change programme, we worked closely with LAS’s own teams, building strong relationships with key stakeholders despite the logistical challenges of working remotely during the second UK Covid lockdown.
We designed and managed a datacentre upgrade roadmap, ensuring that potential operational risks and cybersecurity issues were fully anticipated and mitigated both during, and moving out of, the upgrade and into BaU. We also worked closely with LAS’s own Network Architect to design and manage the required upgrade to a new core and wide area network to ensure ongoing resilience. We recommended and ensured SD-WAN compatibility, laying the foundations for LAS to move to this new technology when the organisation is ready.
In the area of IT Service Management (ITSM), we worked with LAS to standardise IT service desk processes, automating many previously resource-intensive tasks. Where appropriate, we introduced self-service portals to further reduce the manual burden on busy IT service staff.
Meanwhile, we worked with the CIO, the Head of Infrastructure IM&T, and senior stakeholders, to introduce new IT governance and architecture functions. We designed and supported the implementation of clear frameworks for architecture and change management. We also supported an enhanced governance model. We worked with LAS to establish a new Enterprise Architecture Council and to extend the remit of the existing Change Advisory Board. These bodies will collectively sponsor and steer standardised IT ways of working, risk and cost control, a change management framework for projects and programmes as well as BaU, and a pro-active strategy for technology transformation moving forwards.
This was a challenging programme with significant scope. But, by immersing our multi-skilled team into LAS’s own working culture and ensuring a clear roadmap, roles, responsibilities, and review points, we completed the work in just 15 months.
We achieved all objectives successfully, while simultaneously safeguarding critical in-flight systems to maintain operations during the transformation. Our collaborative approach with LAS has delivered future-proofed networking and datacentre capabilities, underlying architecture to support the adoption of emerging technologies, a streamlined IT service desk model, and new governance and change management frameworks. This IT transformation has embedded the right technological foundations to equip LAS to manage future change, capitalise on modern technologies and, ultimately, assure the future of the technology estate to enable their lifesaving services.
“I knew Mason Advisory could bring in a team of experts to support the whole programme. They have really added value and I see it as a partnership: they have taken on our challenges as their own. They really care. That’s why I’ve already recommended them to another emergency service. And that’s why they’re still working with us now.”
Barry Thurston, CIO – London Ambulance Service