Personnel Today Awards 2014 shortlist: Excellence in Public Service HR

Essex County Council collects their award
Essex County Council collect their award in 2013

PPMADespite facing austerity drives and budget cuts, public-sector employers can still produce great results in terms of HR. Continuing our series of profiles on the finalists for the Personnel Today Awards 2014, we look at the shortlist for the Award for Excellence in Public Service HR, supported by the Public Sector People Managers’ Association (PPMA). 


Cafcass

About the organisation

Cafcass is a non-departmental public body that gives advice to family courts, makes provision for children to be represented and provides information, advice and support to children and their families. It is the largest single employer of social workers in England, with around 1,700 staff.

Public Service HR – the judges

Anne Gibson, acting managing director, Norfolk County Council
Martin Rayson, director of HR and organisational development, London Borough of Barking & Dagenham
Richard Crouch, president, PPMA

The challenge

In 2010, the Public Accounts Committee declared Cafcass “not fit for purpose”, citing unacceptably high sickness levels, low compliance, and poor management information systems. A programme of initiatives to drive improvement culminated in 2014, when Ofsted declared the organisation “good with outstanding leadership”.

What the organisation did

  • Built infrastructure for effective performance management, with regular reviews and updates to performance matrix.
  • Moved to an HR business partner model.
  • Linked pay progression to performance; expanded total reward package; set up a comprehensive wellbeing programme.
  • Introduced a management development programme.
  • Organised a “Day one” intervention service for staff on sick leave.
  • Around 700 staff members left as skills/values not aligned with those Cafcass needed to achieve turnaround.
  • Implemented better technology/mobile provision for social workers.
  • Introduced fully integrated eHR system, including self-service and self-regulation tools.

Benefits and achievements

  • Cafcass graded “good” by Ofsted, with leadership rated “outstanding”.
  • HR’s impact highlighted as crucial to improving service delivery.
  • Able to help 145,000 children in 2013/14, compared with 80,000 in 2008/9 (demand for services rose 29% following death of Peter Connelly).
  • Annual savings of £266,000, thanks to introduction of self-service.
  • Eighty-three per cent of staff agree training needs are met.
  • Increased management effectiveness means manager numbers could be reduced from 329 (in 2009) to 139 (in 2014).
  • Faced 80 tribunals, losing none of them.
  • Sickness reduced from 16.2 days for social workers (in 2009/10) to 7.3 days (in 2013/14), almost halving sickness costs

Judges’ comments

“A strong systematic approach with impressive results, externally assessed.”


VineHR/Essex Local Authorities

About the organisation

VineHR is a not-for-profit company formed by the heads of HR from all 15 local authorities in Essex. Together, it serves a population of more than 1.3 million people.

The challenge

Local authorities in Essex needed to provide an efficient and sustainable model for training and developing employees; something that would be accessible to all organisations regardless of size, cost-effective and consistent, but would also deliver great value.

What the organisation did

  • Built framework where training procurement could be shared and money saved; 16 key areas were identified.
  • Heads of HR each mapped workforce development needs; established project team across all authorities to create shared approach.
  • Created a central team, jointly funded, to support training needs of each authority.
  • Established programmes quickly through 17 partner authorities that understood ethos of collaboration.
  • Introduced new opportunities in management development, behavioural workshops, masterclasses, plus focused-development and self-awareness courses.
  • Authorities could access virtual platform (Vine) to create communities and collaborate on key topics.

Benefits and achievements

  • Cost per head for management development programme in Havering cut to £400, compared to high-street quote of £1,500.
  • Delegates on District Council Network established communities on Vine to share knowledge and challenge each other.
  • Created a partnership-led programme, developed to ILM standards.
  • Employees (570) from across all authorities have been challenged to work differently and innovate through the new system.
  • Saved £530,000 to date on training costs, and £250,000 through shared procurement.

Judges’ comments

“An innovative approach, with strong results delivered for the organisations involved.”


Hertfordshire County Council

About the organisation

Hertfordshire County Council consists of 77 councillors, overseeing the interests of more than 1.1 million residents.

The challenge

In 2009, Hertfordshire launched “Council for the Future”, a transformation programme aimed at reducing spend while maintaining high standards of service. Learning and development (L&D) is a central part of this strategy, and the council wanted to ensure that it was closely aligned to strategic priorities of the business.

What the organisation did

  • Identified key L&D priorities each with clear aims, objectives, delivery programmes and performance measures.
  • Created a “development charter” for staff.
  • Renewed commitment to leadership development, eg Through LEAP programme, action learning sets.
  • Introduced “Just in time, just enough” blended learning programme for managers, and developed and hosted an e-learning system.
  • Delivered employment and work experience opportunities for young people and other disadvantaged jobseekers, including apprenticeships and evolved graduate scheme.
  • L&D’s role includes strategic organisational development support, developing and embedding values and behaviours, managing change, and coaching/mentoring.

Benefits and achievements

  • Manager satisfaction levels stand at 74%, with 25% saying service has improved (Investors in People feedback).
  • Eighty-six employees in talent pool performing strongly against targets; selected as “transformation challenge champions”.
  • Some 243 managers have completed LEAP programme.
  • Hertfordshire Manager programme recorded high satisfaction rates: 74% demonstrating positive behavioural change after six months.
  • Employee engagement increased by 14 points to 63%.
  • Eighty-eight per cent of staff express a clear understanding of values and behaviours.
  • Council has delivered £149 million in savings between 2010 and 2014 through more than 100 change projects.

Judges’ comments

“Good evidence of how L&D can be an enabler. Good metrics.”


HMRC

About the organisation

Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) is the revenue-generating arm of the UK Government and is responsible for making sure that money is available to fund the UK’s public services.

The challenge

To meet austerity targets, HMRC’s funding was reduced by 25% in 2010 and a further 5% in 2013. To increase revenue and shave costs, HMRC needed to put more staff into compliance (tax evasion/avoidance), while reducing headcount by around 10,000 people. It is doing this through the Workforce Management Programme (WMP).

What the organisation did

  • WMP provided intelligence and insight to ensure HMRC makes effective use of resources and develops the right skills.
  • Set up project teams for specific areas related to the changes, such as resourcing, delivery, communications.
  • Supported members of WMP team to gain project management and CIPD qualifications.
  • Provided support, assistance and advice for those moving offices or leaving the departments.

Benefits and achievements

  • Moved 1,816 people from declining parts of the department to revenue generating areas.
  • Recruited more than 7,000 people externally.
  • Managed exits for more than 3,000 people and dealt with “natural wastage” of 8,348 people.
  • Promoted 10,481 people.
  • Almost 27,000 staff now in revenue-generating roles.
  • On target to reduce staff in post to 52,000 by 2015/16.
  • Collected £23.9 billion in additional revenue in 2013/14.

Judges’ comments

“Great example of effect workforce planning to support business needs.”


London Borough of Croydon

About the organisation

Croydon is London’s biggest borough by population, covering an area of 87 square kilometers across south London. It has a workforce of around 10,500 staff, and is the largest employer in the area.

The challenge

Demand for the council’s services is increasing year on year in line with significant population growth. Despite saving more than £100 million over the past four years, the borough needed to review how it delivered services and made the best use of its resources.

What the organisation did

  • Looked at ways to change the organisation’s culture and implement a programme to achieve this.
  • Consulted with trade union representatives, engaged with workforce, changed values to make them more “liveable”.
  • Resdesigned leadership development programme.
  • Introduced new performance management scheme.
  • Implemented a major change programme to manage the relocation of 2,700 staff to new premises.
  • Managed 74 reorganisations and restructures, including 109 redundancies, of which 55 were voluntary.

Benefits and achievements

  • Change programme delivered £40 million in savings.
  • Ninety staff were successfully redeployed into new posts.
  • Increased proportion of staff feel they have a good work-life balance (up 4%).
  • Nearly three-quarters (72%) of staff value appraisal conversations with their manager (up 3%).
  • Building move will provide £2 million in annual efficiency savings.
  • Majority (81%) of staff feel their new office environment is an improvement.

Judges’ comments

“Comprehensive programme of change led by the HR department, including transfer to a new building.”


University of Sheffield

About the organisation

The University of Sheffield is a world top 100 university based in the city of Sheffield in South Yorkshire. It was voted top in the Times Higher Education Education Student Experience Survey.

The challenge

The vision for staff at the University of Sheffield is to create an environment where they feel healthy, well and happy. The university wanted to place health and wellbeing at the heart of its offer as an employer, as well as increase the number of people participating in health programmes.

What the organisation did

  • Created a programme called “Juice” with three main elements: an online resource on health and nutrition (Knowledge Bank), programme of activities, and core health and wellbeing services.
  • Ran two successful pilots before launching Juice in 2012.
  • Offered free activities, including bootcamp sessions, swimming, Pilates, book club and choir.
  • Appointed “Juice-vocates” to champion health and wellbeing, and created staff wellbeing group.

Benefits and achievements

  • Healthier, happier employees are more engaged and contribute positively to the university’s business.
  • Three-quarters (74%) of employees are aware of Juice and 24% have taken part in at least one activity.
  • Website has had more than 60,000 hits since launch, and more than 5,000 activities have been booked.
  • Feedback includes: “I feel energised when I come back to work and face the afternoon feeling refreshed”.
  • Staff survey indicates improvements in areas Juice plays a role: 65% feel valued by the university; and 87% would recommend it as an excellent place to work (up 12% since 2012).
  • Fall in absence days per person over last 12 months (in science faculty, this has reduced from 3.2 to 1.9).

Judges’ comments

“An innovative approach to health and wellbeing to support engagement and performance, with impressive results.”


Royal Navy

About the organisation

The Royal Navy protects both home and international waters. It is made up of five branches: the Surface Fleet, Submarine Services, its Fleet Air Arm, the Royal Marines and the Royal Fleet Auxilliary.

The challenge

The Royal Navy promises adventure, purpose and excitement, but its website was not telling this story well or driving recruitment. The Navy needed to revisit its digital strategy to appeal to a young, digitally savvy audience and increase candidate engagement and application numbers.

What the organisation did

  • Digital partner e3 conducted extensive research into the Royal Navy “story” to find out how this could be better told through the website.
  • Developed user experience and design made up of “blocks” of digestible messages that could be pieced together.
  • Ensured recruitment blocks appear on every page and link to relevant content about roles and so candidates can enter recruitment funnel quickly and easily.
  • Made content bitesize and shareable to increase social media presence.

Benefits and achievements

  • In six months, site views went up by 69% and video views by 59%.
  • Engagement through Facebook increased by 4%.
  • Applications through the website increased by 46% and quality of candidates has improved.
  • Careers site voted in top three most engaging in The Times Top 100 graduate recruitment awards.
  • Visits to career content up 54%.

Judges’ comments

“A strong analytical response with impressive results.”

Comments are closed.