Worcestershire County Council

team for Award for HR Strategy: Personnel Today Awards 2000

County Council has only existed for two years, following local government
reorganisation and the splitting of Hereford & Worcester. From the start it
decided to have a strategy as an organisation and to integrate the human
resources function within the strategy.

may seem an obvious course to take but developing a vision is rarely done in
local government, because political control is up for grabs every four years,
rendering the possibility that the vision could be changed. This is unlikely in
Worcestershire, where the vision is phrased in a manner designed to appeal to
all political parties. The aim is to provide a voice for citizens, ensure quality
services, communicate with all communities and be a good employer.

Sykes, the chief executive, has begun a culture change from a traditional,
rather bureaucratic approach to one based around innovation and serving the
customer. He particularly emphasises the importance of departments working

argues that change is constant, not least due to the continual "best
value" reviews of performance that the Government has brought in.
Worcestershire has few recruitment problems, because it is an attractive place
to live, but it can mean the "death of ambition" says Sykes, as
people move to stay and retire.

resources priorities are based on the objectives of the organisation. The key
competencies for management were defined only after the strategy was set and
were geared towards trying to achieve the objectives.

director Dilys Winn has introduced more consistency in approach, for example by
ensuring there are the same appraisal process for all employees, and that the
process is geared towards helping the business objectives, but also personal
development requirements.

there are some common standards across the organisation, Winn has retained
separate personnel teams for the service departments, which some councils have
dispensed with. This helps ensure some policies can be tailored to the diverse
needs of the respective departments.

example, recruitment does not need to be a corporate priority, but the social
services department has a pressing need, due to the general shortage of qualified
social workers. It has the freedom to develop recruitment and retention
policies aimed at its particular needs. Unfilled vacancies are up to 30 per
cent in some areas of social work, but are scarcely a problem elsewhere in the

there are only five directorates, maintaining communication within the human
resources discipline is easier than in other local authorities, and is hugely
helped by the county’s intranet, which has a dedicated, password-protected page
for the HR team.

fact file

Worcestershire County Council human resources team

Dilys Winn, HR director

in HR team

of employees responsible for

Establishing a high profile strategic role for HR and a
customer focus among staff

for next 12 months
Maintaining the momentum, keeping the close alignment
with the business and implementation of policies

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