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Cheshire West and Chester Council

When Cheshire West and Chester Council wanted a learning provider with knowledge and experience to support them with behavioural training geared towards meeting the Council’s key objectives, they trusted QA, and have continued to trust QA in developing capability progressively upwards in the organisation.

The Challenge

As with all councils, Cheshire West and Chester Council (CW&CC) face ongoing periods of change, and tackling them requires adaptive workforces with the skills necessary to navigate the ever-changing landscape. The Council believe that by empowering their people to make a difference, the organisation can adapt, meet challenges head-on and provide even better services to the Cheshire West and Chester community.

Recognising that whilst Senior Managers can set direction and provide vision, it is Team Leaders and frontline Supervisors and Managers who make it happen. They have the greatest impact on what staff know, how they are developed, whether they feel engaged and excited about the future and whether they feel valued. They are key to not only influencing and inspiring their staff but being their Voice to their Managers and the organisation.

This is where this new IMPACT programme comes in.

Often they feel like a small cog in a large wheel, we needed to reverse that thinking.

Sandra Thelwell (FCIPD)

HR Policy and Strategy Lead - Core Team

The Solution

The Council chose QA as they wanted a partner who would engage with them in a flexible way, understanding their business demands and culture.

Over a number of years, QA has worked with CW&CC to deliver a diverse suite of “Building Capability” workshops available to all Council staff which includes: Creative Problem Solving, Increase Your Self Awareness, Communicate Effectively, Assert Yourself and Build Confidence, Personal Impact and Influence, Report Writing, Speed Reading, Minute Taking, Making Meetings Work, Managing Pressure and Conflicting Demands, Organising Work and Time, Responding to Change, and Develop Your Potential.

Newly-appointed Team Leaders and Supervisors are given a suite of half-day modules, including: Moving from Player to Manager, Developing Leadership Skills, Teamwork, Feedback and Goal Setting, Positive Management Conversations, and Time Management and Delegation, to accelerate their transition into the new role.

CW&CC have once again entrusted QA to deliver IMPACT – a completely bespoke programme, designed entirely based on internal research on what Council Managers felt they wanted from the management development programme, which fed into how QA designed the programme with the client. QA’ s understanding and interpretation has been well-received.

Using a ‘ripple-effect’ concept with the Team Leader as the pivotal stone dropped into a pool having wide ranging impact on the people they manage and the services they deliver, this four-module programme starts with “self” and progresses upwards to making an impact at the organisational level.

Drawing on the knowledge and experience of both teams, the Council’s HR and QA Learning teams worked collaboratively to develop this high-impact programme which weaves the Council’s vision and values through the core of the learning, and:

  • Brings Team Leaders/Supervisors from across the Council together to network, reflect and problem solve on leadership and management issues they are dealing with, recognising that no matter where they work, they are dealing with similar issues
  • Helps learners to reflect on what type of Manager they are and the impact their style has on others, starting to build their awareness
  • Gives them a toolkit of resources which they could draw upon so that they have the skills, knowledge and confidence to lead staff to deliver the VISION and make a positive IMPACT

 

The proactive CW&CC HR team have been delighted with the way the relationship with QA has developed. Sandra Thelwell, HR Policy and Strategy Lead, describes Anthony McMahon (Account Manager) as “a little extension of our training team”. She appreciated the expertise of Steve (Lead Learning Consultant) and Sam (Learning Solutions Manager) in understanding their culture to reflect this in the course and delivery.

In addition to the QA classroom element, there were a number of other key aspects, critical to success, including; a launch session by a Director, a learner presentation about the learning and its impact to Senior Managers and a final group project - showcased at a final event.

Cheshire West and Chester Council

Cheshire West and Chester Council is a unitary authority which was formed in 2009 when it replaced part of Cheshire County Council and Chester City Council, Ellesmere Port and Neston Borough Council and Vale Royal Borough Council.

The Council is an innovative organisation with new and enhanced ways of working. It works hard to improve engagement with customers, individuals, communities and partners and deliver the highest quality of services to all stakeholders.

The Outcome

Excellent feedback has been received from delegates on both the course, on Steve’s delivery, and how applicable the learning has been, examples include:

“very effective - it has given me tools to implement in the workplace”

“Makes me aware of all the things I need to tackle myself or be accountable for, and those I need to put down or let go, or give to other people”

“Will make me more innovative in ways I get staff to work together and collaborate”

The approach of asking Managers what they want from a management development programme has contributed towards the programme’s success.

At this point, the programme has been delivered to 160+ CW&CC Managers with many more to come.

CW&CC have also been able to offer the programme to one of their partner organisations to support their development.

As a Council we have not over publicised the programme, instead it has built its own reputation and we have staff on waiting lists to attend as the feedback has been so good.

Sandra Thelwell (FCIPD)

HR Policy and Strategy Lead - Core Team

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