Video from the LGA Workforce Team Featuring Sue Evans on the Apprenticeship Levy

23/03/2017 – PPMA | Comments (0)

Hello PPMA members and friends

Our post this week is a ‘Workforce News’ video podcast from our colleagues at the LGA and it features an interview with our President Sue Evans, who talks about the Apprenticeship Levy and it’s likely implications for councils. Phil Bundy, Senior Employment Law Advisor also talks about the legal aspects and impacts of the Levy.

To kick things off, Sarah Messenger who is the outgoing Head of Workforce at the LGA, reflects on her time in the role and the work that she has been involved with.  It’s a must watch!

A Shared Vision

17/03/2017 – PPMA | Comments (0)

Hello PPMA members and friends

We have another post in our series looking at the challenges and opportunities around the integration of Heath and Social care and Cath McCarty, Head of HR and Head of Adult Services at North Yorkshire Council looks at the good work being undertaken by North Yorkshire and a number of partners in improving social care in the region, illustrating the benefits of integrated services.

“North Yorkshire CC’s Vanguard work with NHS partners and care market studies show that our demand for services and demographic trends are five years ahead of the national average. Occupancy rates for care services is running at 95%.

North Yorkshire is an area which is fortunate to have high levels of employment, however this means that ensuring the health and social care sector is an attractive and competitive place to work is one of our major challenges.

Harrogate Vanguard is one of several pilots in the country to adopt an integrated approach to new models of care for health and social care services. Our vision is to ensure the people of Harrogate and rural districts receive high quality affordable healthcare, and play an active role in making decisions about their own health. We aim to ensure more people stay healthier and independent for longer, have choice and control over their lives and care, and that costs are reduced across the system.

The partners involved in the project are Harrogate District Foundation Trust, Tees Esk and Wear Valley NHS Foundation Trust, Harrogate & Rural District Clinical Commissioning Group, General Practitioners and North Yorkshire CC.

We have worked together to redesign care out of hospital, based on messages from our residents. Our aim is to shift investment from acute services to provide more support in the community.

We are focusing on the links between mental health, wellbeing and physical health, as well as providing a more joined up and faster response to crisis. The overall aim is to avoid hospital admissions while supporting people to take a more active role in managing their own health and wellbeing. Our voluntary sector partners are key in our work.
The project focused on streamlining operational processes to eliminate duplication across the health and care sector. This enabled the efficiencies to be reinvested, while enabling an integrated working environment.

The county council has also developed a range of prevention initiatives:

• Stronger communities, a universal prevention programme provides start-up funding, advice and support for communities across North Yorkshire, helping people to support each other. There are dozens of initiatives attached to this such as support to community libraries and community transport, sporting memories clubs and training volunteers for home visits and initiatives to connect older and isolated people with each other.

• Living Well is a new service helping people on the cusp of care to build their confidence to continue living independently at home. Council staff from a range of backgrounds comprise this new team working in partnership with clinical commissioning groups, district councils and the voluntary sector. Team members are trained to spend time with people on a one to one basis to help them achieve the outcomes they want.

• Extra Care is the county council’s flagship programme supporting people to live in their own homes with care and support when they need it. Schemes may also incorporate GP surgeries, libraries, short break respite services and specialist accommodation for people with dementia. In the last 10 years we have developed 19 schemes, three more are under construction and potentially another 30 schemes in the pipeline.”

The Challenge Ahead With Health and Social Care Integration

03/03/2017 – PPMA | Comments (0)

Hello PPMA members and friends

Izzi Seccombe is chair of the LGA’s community and wellbeing board and leader of Warwickshire CC and she believes that Health and social care is more important now than it’s ever been. In our blog post this week she talks about the challenges and opportunities the integration of these two key services will bring and the role of HR in this.

Health and social care is in a period of uncertainty. It is now more important than ever for local government to work with our communities and our counterparts in the NHS to secure a future for health and social care. But in the midst of flux and change, one thing that is certain is that joining up services is essential to achieving better health and wellbeing outcomes.

One of the key aims in health and care integration is to use resources more efficiently. However there is little straightforward evidence that integration produces immediately obvious efficiency savings. In fact the process can be long and complex and can even cost money at first. The emphasis has to be around investing to save, which means a longer-term effort to reduce demand on acute services through better home-based services in the community. It also means that we need to focus on the workforce. Make no mistake, although technology and personal responsibility can do a lot, health and care are uniquely labour intensive industries and the workforce is the key to change.

There are many challenges to deal with and partners in every area will find their own solutions, but one of the main lessons so far is that there is a risk of obsessing about structures. Organisational design is important but any organisation, however well designed, will fail if its people are not involved properly in change just as surely as if it is poorly led and governed.

There is much to suggest that efforts to integrate services need to be focused on developing well functioning multi-disciplinary teams drawing in people from all partner organisations. Alongside this there is plenty of general learning about good HR practice that suggests that improving the quality of team working is very important in driving staff engagement and thus increasing productivity and efficiency. So overall we should have the potential for a virtuous circle of improvement but only if we get our approach to the workforce right.

The Local Government Association (LGA) and NHS Employers recently commissioned a major report from The King’s Fund which took a detailed look at the lessons about integrated working. The report looked in particular at the pre-occupation with the idea that integration requires the development of a range of entirely new jobs with new and perhaps unfamiliar skill sets. Importantly, the report noted that there is little real evidence that new job design is always worth the effort. Instead, integration partners should come to realise that all the skills and experience they need are already available in their existing workforces and that effort is needed to build people into teams where skills are recognised, celebrated and used properly. This doesn’t mean getting people to do different things but instead getting them to do things differently.

The best way to achieve this is simply to bring people together in teams as soon as possible in the timeline of integration so they can develop mutual trust and understanding. Building from the strength of good joint team working, it is then easier for partner organisations to develop closer approaches on policy and process issues. For instance, joint approaches to workforce planning are important and there are many tools and techniques available to help with this, but we need to acknowledge that there are very different planning traditions in the NHS and local government for example, and it will take time to develop truly joint approaches.

In the meantime it’s important to put efforts into other processes such as joint recruitment exercises and the alignment of a wide variety of HR policies such as disciplinary procedures, most probably on a gradual basis. This evolutionary approach, based around good quality team working and the development of consensus means that there is a good context to deal positively with the two big elephants in the room. One is the set of what are often called ‘hard’ issues around contracts, pay and pensions while the other is the so-called ‘soft’ issue of cultural differences between organisations.

The terms hard and soft are perhaps unfortunate because developing a shared culture is a very demanding process, but once it is in place it can make it easier to deal with contracts and pay. The LGA is working in partnership with other national organisations to do what we can to facilitate integration and change. One major aim is to ensure that good quality learning and information is made available more easily to local partners. This is in fact a big task given the great diversity of projects currently underway throughout the country.

Efforts are also being put into understanding the potential for imaginative approaches to pay and rewards which will make it easier for talented people to move around a much more flexible health and care system. I’ve only been able to touch briefly on some of the key issues and developments here, but we are really encouraged to see that the workforce is now seen as the key to integration and that partners at every level are focused on their people. This gives HR specialists a major role to play.

Izzi seccombe , chair of the LGA’s community and wellbeing board and leader of Warwickshire CC

Eduserv and PPMA Digital Skills Survey 2017

22/02/2017 – PPMA | Comments (0)

Hello PPMA members and friends

  • How digital-ready is your organisation?
  • Are you making the right investment in digital skills?
  • What role do HR teams play in creating a digitally savvy workforce?

In partnership with not-for-profit IT provider Eduserv, we looking to build up a picture of the role of digital skills in councils and we’d really appreciate your help – could you please take 10 minutes to complete our simple survey which will help us find out more about the extent to which local authorities are taking building digital skills to support future change and new service delivery into account.

Everyone who fills out the survey will get a copy of the final report providing a picture of what peers are doing along with best practice in local government.

We’ll also provide opportunity for future discussion of the themes in our National Roadshow and Regional meetings, so your participation in this project is a very valuable use of your time.

Click here to complete the survey.

Thank you

Sue Evans, PPMA President

Facing the Facts

03/02/2017 – PPMA | Comments (0)

Hello PPMA members and friends

Our blog post this week is from Julian Mellor, Programme Manager – Integrated Care at Birmingham Community Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust/Health Education England, and Prof Guy Daly, Executive Dean of Faculty of Health and Life Sciences at Coventry University. Julian and Guy summarise the findings of a multi-year study into workforce issues exploring themes and best practice in integrated working, research that initially involved health and social care providers across Birmingham, Solihull and the Black Country.

Integrated care itself means different things to different people. The following definition developed by Think Local Act Personal/National Voices 2013 sums up how integrated care is person-centred coordinated care: “I can plan my care with people who work together to understand me and my carer(s), allow me control and bring together services to achieve the outcomes important to me.”

This person-centred approach aims to ensure that people receive dignified and compassionate care, while financial constraints continue to demand a more collaborative approach in terms of reducing emergency hospital admissions, reducing length of stay and facilitating the effective discharge of patients.

An important initial consideration in setting up this research was to ensure that the programme boards had a mix of representatives to include those who were leading service transformation, as well as workforce development and education leads from provider NHS Trusts and local authorities. Membership was strengthened to formalise the link with system-wide service transformation led through the Better Care Fund and Sustainability and Transformation Plans. The Executive Steering Group for the Integrated Care programme has senior level leadership from an NHS Trust chief executive and ADASS workforce lead.

Studies of nearly 400 national and international examples of service integration revealed that very few of these had initially given consideration to the specific workforce issues that needed to be addressed. From those that did recognise workforce factors, however, it was possible to identify some good examples of training programmes and competency frameworks that would support the work of multi- agency, multidisciplinary teams. Of particular importance, however, was the recognition of the role of care co-ordinators and care navigators in supporting people, especially in their own homes, and providing a conduit to other services in both the statutory and Private, Independent and Voluntary (PIV) Sector.

Learning from the best practice review was also useful in identifying both the barriers and the enablers to effective integrated working. The finding and recommendations from the best practice review were mapped across to six pilot projects, each of which provided a unique vehicle for testing out different aspects of integrated working in different settings, including communities, care homes and primary care.

All pilots demonstrated commitment to the integrated care agenda and the ability to work across multiple partners in different sectors. They provided access to expert clinical as well as patient/service user perspectives; many had their own established patient/user representative groups, thereby helping   the programme to stay grounded in practice and patient experience.

All six pilot projects had commenced by April 2014 and were substantially completed by July 2015. The best practice that has been developed will be scaled up and spread as part of the Integrated Care Programme, which is developing tools and resources, e.g. training programmes, workforce profiling methodology, for use with a wide range of new models of care across the West Midlands. This includes the development of a framework of shared core principles and functions for those working in integrated care teams.

A new workstream has been established to ensure that the workforce has the skills and knowledge to support self-care and raise awareness of the potential of digital technology in relation to both healthcare and reducing social isolation. The future emphasis must be on supporting the adoption and adaptation of workforce best practice.  This will include an emphasis on developing organisational culture and system leaders.  In addition, further work is needed on developing inter-professional and interdisciplinary working which may necessitate professional body regulators such as the HCPC and NMC becoming more flexible in how health and social care professionals are educated.

On top of that, the future integrated workforce must be one that is sensitive to the needs of local populations and communities. This will recognise, for example, the different challenges in achieving integrated working in rural and urban environments as well as the complexities of multiple partners, commissioners and service providers, working across the boundaries of health and social care.

We’d love to hear from you with your experiences of integrated working, so why not drop us a comment – just click on the comments link above and type away.

Julian Mellor                     Guy Davies






Spring and the Sign of Things to Come

26/01/2017 – PPMA | Comments (0)

Hello All,

It’s just that far into a dreary and very cold January to congratulate those whose resolutions hold and reassuring the dry January brigade that they are nearly there. I always feel that, once we get through January the year is truly settled and we can all focus on what needs doing. Our thoughts turn to Spring. There are some very brave little snowdrops in my garden which are a joy to behold – and some foolhardy Magnolia Buds – the rest looks very dull and in need of some serious work.

The same goes for the world of Local Government HR. There are signs of new things to come – mainly cock-eyed legislation, more pressure on the budgets and of course IR35 and the Apprenticeships Levy to keep us entertained. In the longer term the proposed referendum in Surrey and the deepening concerns over funding for Social Care will make for some difficult decisions and serious work.

Like the garden, our teams need nurturing and encouraging so that they can grow and flourish. We need to be mindful – literally and metaphorically – of the importance of good leadership and good engagement with staff during difficult times. We have led and supported so much change already, transforming services and reshaping the workforce.

This has been hard work and will continue to be so let’s recognise that effort and do what we can to support our staff and each other through the next round of challenges. Spring cleaning, streamlining and refreshing will help us to renew our focus and keep on delivering well across the sector. Keep learning, keep growing and keep flourishing.

Alongside this there is the PPMA Seminar 2017 in Bristol on 27th and 28th April. This promises to be the best yet with Peter Cheese and other great speakers, fantastic workshops and of course the Awards Dinner.  Have you booked yet? Don’t miss the early bird discount on offer. Have you got your awards entries ready? It would be great to see a record showcase of excellence this year. There is so much brilliant work out there, we need to see it and share it. Let’s have a great show of blooming marvellous effort to celebrate.

The Seminar dates co-incide with my last 2 working days in Local Government – how lovely for me to spend my last 2 days with such a fabulous assembly. I am looking forward to seeing everyone – it won’t be the least you see of me by the way – and handing over to Caroline will mark a change and a refocusing of PPMA. Caroline will blossom beautifully as our new President and, supported ably by Karen, will take us through the coming seasons with confidence and colour.

Sue Evans

PPMA President

Video: The Launch of The PPMA Excellence in People Management Awards 2017

20/01/2017 – PPMA | Comments (0)

Hello PPMA members and friends

We’re delighted to announce the launch of of our 2017 Excellence in People Management Awards and this video featuring Caroline Nugent, PPMA VP, Andrew Blake-Herbery CX at Havering Council and Stacey-Rebekka Karlsson Head of Government and Public Services at Guardian News and Media, explains more about the awards and this year’s judging event.

It’s really important to recognise and celebrate the great work we all do, so please do put forward your entries.  The closing date is Friday the 10th March and to find out more about the awards and how to enter click here.




Video – Caroline Nugent talks about the 2017 PPMA Annual Seminar

10/01/2017 – PPMA | Comments (0)

Hello PPMA members and friends

The 2017 PPMA Annual Seminar is happening on Thursday the 27th and Friday the 28th April in Bristol and in this short film, Caroline Nugent President elect talks about the brilliant programme of events we have lined up for you.  So if you haven’t booked already watch the video to find out more and click here to make sure you reserve your place.

We’ve Got Star Power!

05/01/2017 – PPMA | Comments (0)

Hello PPMA members and friends

Happy New Year to you all – hopefully you’ve had a good time and a nice refreshing break and are all fired up to rise to the opportunities and challenges that 2017 may bring? Our first blog post of the year is from Leatham Green, who is Programme Director at Orbis and is the driving force behind the innovative PPMA Rising Stars programme, which over the last few years, has recognised and promoted top HR talent. He tells us more about the programme.

“One of my favourite songs came on the radio the other day – Noah and the Whale’s ‘ In Five Years’ Time’ (great track if you don’t know it) and it got me thinking about what we hoped to achieve from HR Rising Stars as we enter our fifth year.

This event came about following on from a conversation between myself and Raffaela Goodby  (Director of Workforce and OD at Sandwell & West Birmingham NHS Trust) about the need to be able to attract and nurture the best talent at an early stage of their career. We were conscious that not all organisations can offer the range of development opportunities due to lack of scale or resources, and we thought it would be a great idea to create something that would enable them to access high quality development.

As a sector, we must ensure we have the capacity and capability coming through the profession. It’s not about age or job type, it’s about nurturing those with aspirations to become leader in the future. So looking back over the last four years it is so rewarding to reflect on the number of brilliant professionals that we have been able to work with (over 60 colleagues have participated to date) and the fact that many have gone on to greater and better things with their career a real added bonus.

It has been a privilege to work with our key sponsor Manpower Group who have been so very generous with their time and expertise coaching and nurturing the talent that we have worked with.

It has also been a huge bonus to have the Local Government Association as part of the event and Suzanne Hudson, Senior Advisor who has opened many opportunities for past participants to share their ideas to senior influencers within local government.  Without this support we could not have made such a difference to so many future leaders.

So what is in store for the next five years?  The refreshed and newly named ‘PPMA HR STAR’ event was launched in November and I am confident that we will continue to seek out and shine a spot light on some amazing and talented colleagues who will continue to impress.

So if you know of a brilliant HR professional – at whatever stage they are in their career – who you believe is destined for greater things, then encourage them to step up and set the public service world alight. We would be thrilled to work with them.”

Leatham Green

Programme Director, Orbis

Happy Christmas from the PPMA!

22/12/2016 – PPMA | Comments (0)

Hello PPMA members and friends

As 2016 draws to a close and we are wrapped up in the preparations for Christmas I thought it would be good to take some time to pause and reflect on the year just gone. It has been a bit of a roller coaster – globally, in the UK, across the public sector and for many personally as well. The surprises, Brexit and The American Election result, the inevitable, bungled legislation and cock-eyed thinking from central government and the challenges, keep doing more with a great deal less and the looming disaster that is social care. In the midst of all this we have lost some well loved characters, David Bowie, Victoria Wood, Andrew Sachs, Frank Nicholson and Rabbi Lionel Blue. Add to all that usual ups and downs of family and personal lives and  we’ll have earned us all a good rest and some good cheer for the festive season. No wonder the sales of gin have gone up exponentially during 2016!

The shining light for me this year though has been the indomitable spirit of Local Government. In spite of the constant need to take on more, redesign, re-organise and reshape, our staff remain upbeat, determined and ready to roll with the punches. We have been talking about public sector ethos and what it takes to be a 21st Century Public Servant and it is difficult to put your finger on what it is, exactly, that this thing is, this essence of service and the attitudes and values that underpin the work we do. But it is so vital to what we do. Rather than ask people public life to swear allegiance we would do well to celebrate the many ways our staff demonstrate the values and contribute to making our society better and our communities stronger.

Something sticks in my mind from our Seminar in June. Lucy Adams talked about our staff as human. Not assets – that’s inanimate objects and things which cannot move, innovate, create or enthuse – but a precious resource. If nothing else for 2017 let’s ban the phrase “our staff are out greatest asset” and let’s celebrate the rich seam of ideas, energy and creativity. It is the only resource we can grow and HR and OD are uniquely placed to do so. Developing, challenging, encouraging and supporting are our watchwords. Let’s do mote of what we are really good at.

Personally,  I have taken the huge decision to take Early Retirement in April. As I stand down from the Presidency and hand over to Caroline Nugent I am going to step into the different world of Interim and Consultancy. I am determined to be a “good” Past President so I have no intention of stepping away from PPMA  - it has meant so much to me personally and professionally  - and I will work to support Caroline and you, our members. This is quite a change as I have been a corporate being for all of my working life. I love Warwickshire where I have had the opportunity to develop and to work with some fabulous colleagues. The time is right and I am keen to continue in the public sector so although it is a change I will not lose the great network of superb colleagues across the sector.

Merry Christmas to you and yours and every good wish for 2017. Whatever your personal journey has been through 2016 I hope you have arrived at the end of it in good spirits and ready for whatever comes in 2017.

Sue Evans

PPMA President