Letters of the week: force needs to compare notes

I am looking to make contact with organisations who can help me in the challenging task of conducting a Best Value review of training and development in the police force.

We are a complex organisation of 2,000 police officers, 400 specials and 700 support staff. We undertake a wide range of training, with about 50 staff dedicated to this task.

As part of the government-driven Best Value process I need to “compare” ourselves to others in public and private sectors.


  • I am interested in comparing notes with organisations who have any, or indeed all, of the following characteristics:

  • Have devolved significant training responsibility to operating units and line managers.

  • Operate an internal market with devolved training budgets.

  • Have local training units with specialist staff.

  • Use open and flexible learning as a replacement for courses.

  • Outsource a high proportion of direct training to external providers.

  • Outsource other training services – for example, design, evaluation and admin.

I would like to talk to such organisations on an informal and confidential basis to get behind the headlines which often appear in magazines such as Personnel Today, and learn about the pros and cons of policies.


Malcolm Pattman MCIPD, Head of Training & Development, Derbyshire Constabulary, Tel: 01773 572084

E-mail: mrpattman@hotmail.com


 


Call centres are not sweat shops


I read with amazement your news brief on call centres in UK being among the worst (News, 3 October).

First, I’d like to point out that call centres are not sweat shops. Not all call centres are number driven and some do have good staff retention rates.

It is vital to concentrate on the quality of service a call centre provides to both customers and clients, not the size of the call centre.

Second, gone are the days where call centre staff work like robots. There is more training and interaction between staff, clients and the consumer.

The developing skills of call centre operators and their knowledge of the products they deal with makes them important to client and customer.

More and more call centres allow staff to test and become familiar with the product – allowing them to vary their roles.

Being a call centre operator may not be perceived as a “dream job” but with the skills one learns, future career prospects are promising.


Paul Jackson, General manager, MBO


 


Employ training professionals first


Computer-based training and e-learning has long been an area I feel may provide some solutions to targeted individual learning needs.

As our company enters the final stage of a cultural change programme, these needs are becoming more pressing. Yet, with all the products evaluated so far (admittedly only at the entry-level end of the market), something seems to be amiss.

Robin Hoyle’s presentation at the WOLCE conference last week hit the nail on the head – many such products seem to have lost sight of basic learning theory and practice.

As can often be the danger with any software solution, exact requirements are clouded by the desire for what are, in effect, glossy over-engineered programming demonstrations.

I should therefore like to make a plea to some of the companies currently developing such products: employ the training professionals first, then developers to make it happen – and not vice versa.


Julian Burch, Training & Recruitment Manager, Expotel Hotel Reservations

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