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Brighton and Hove City Council Case Study

The Client: Brighton and Hove City Council’s social services department.

The Challenge: Major changes in the structure and methods of large organisations often necessitate wholesale retraining and enhancement of employees’ skills. This was very much the case when Brighton and Hove City Council (BHCC) found its social services on the cusp of a radical realignment.

Members of the department responsible for leading the workforce had little or no higher education or formal leadership and management qualifications, and it was clear that a significant investment in their skills was required that would benefit both the staff members and the council.

BHCC found the ideal solution to provide senior managers with the skills needed to steer the department through these changes, an accredited leadership and management programme delivered by the University of Chichester.

The Project: It was the Council’s objective to tailor its services to fit a “personalisation agenda” – whereby those using its services have more choice and control of their care, and services meet the needs of individuals rather than adopting a one-size-fits-all model of care.

BHCC sought a suitable learning provider that would address the gap in skills and add value to the managers’ capabilities. The University of Chichester was chosen as the most appropriate provider because of its excellent track record in providing education programmes and its experience developing leadership and management skills in the third sector.

The course it provided incorporated activity focused on improving leadership and decision-making skills, and it was designed to enable participants to understand the need for change, and how to oversee that change using the principles of management. 

“The programme provided support through an intensive period of change and challenge for managers. Through action learning, taught elements of the programme, and applying the learning through real work-based assignments and projects, managers have had a real opportunity to successfully build on their strengths as managers, leaders and individuals – all of which bring real benefits to the organisation.Kevin Murphy, BHCC’s Development Manager for the independent and voluntary sector.

The Results: 16 of the council’s Adult and Children’s Services staff managers successfully undertook the course, gaining accredited awards and the skills and knowledge needed to lead and manage effectively during a period of intense transformation. They reported that their work-life balance had improved, along with their future focus, objective setting and delegation capabilities.

Many said they felt more valued and supported during the period of change. The attainment of awards shows the project has increased adult participation in higher education, as very few of those taking part held formal higher level qualifications.

360° feedback showed that the learning delivered made a significant difference to a large sector undergoing radical changes which directly influenced their ability to achieve the personalisation agenda. Achieving success in this has implications for all those involved in social care, both those working in the sector and those in receipt of care services.

BHCC was particularly impressed by the University’s ability to provide a responsive service innovatively and to a high standard, and its flexibility  in meeting their needs based on an understanding of their current challenges. The skills and knowledge learned have been applied directly in the workplace to help staff cope through the restructuring process.  

 “This programme supported our staff in one of the most difficult times in their working lives.” Workforce Development Manager, BHCC.