One of the UK’s largest county councils has introduced innovative training
to address the skills needs of every one of its 600 middle and senior managers.
Lancashire County Council (LCC), which employs more than 40,000 employees,
has created a personalised development system based on a competency framework,
which categorises each stage of management and spells out the skill-sets that
staff at every level should possess.
These definitions are then applied to individuals through a personal
development programme and the focus is then on filling any skills gaps.
Chris Trinick, chief executive of LCC, told Personnel Today that the new
system replaced an ad hoc and unco-ordinated system of development, which had
created a culture where people were unwilling to "put their head above the
"Development is no longer seen as admitting weakness, it’s about self
improvement," he said. "We are ensuring that personal development is
focused on attaining goals rather than simply collecting certificates. Now we
can say ‘this is what a service manager or director is and these are the
To assess the competency levels for the initial framework, the council used
occupational psychologists to collect information about necessary skills from
all directors, all senior managers and a sample of middle managers.
The individual programmes last five days at the Brathay Hall development
training complex, and have been designed at three levels: senior managers,
middle managers and senior county management.
The programme includes 360-degree appraisals, face-to-face feedback,
experiential training and offers managers feedback about their professional
development objectively and in a structured format.
The scheme also helped to create a self-supporting network across the
organisation, where groups of managers can meet and discuss the issues and
challenges they face.
By Michael Millar