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



Let’s Talk Wellbeing

15/12/2016 – PPMA | Comments (0)

Hello PPMA members and friends

What is wellbeing? How do you know what your employees are actually thinking? Does your organisation take wellbeing seriously?

To try and answer some of these questions, West Midlands Employers and PPMA recently hosted a ‘Let’s Talk Wellbeing’ event. Here’s some of the views and methods of managing wellbeing from the three experts who spoke on the day.

David Elliot is a wellbeing manager with Public Health England. PHE works with local authorities and the West Midlands Combined Authority to promote mental health and wellbeing. PHE linked with Business in the Community to create a digital Mental Health Toolkit for Employers. 1 in 6 working age people have been diagnosed with a mental health condition, so the toolkit was created to raise awareness of mental health issues. The toolkit directs the user to many resources and has been viewed over 4000 times since its launch in May 2016.

More than 50% of individuals don’t feel comfortable disclosing their mental health problems with their colleagues; it is important to understand how employees feel and what their ambitions are, and ultimately for them to ‘be themselves’ and feel comfortable at work.

So, what can we do?
Organisations need to have a structure for support and training for employees and managers to be competent in recognising signs of mental health. Consistency is key, to ensure that all employees and managers feel comfortable to have conversations about mental health and wellbeing. If you invest in a mental health strategy, your return on investment will be well worth it.

The strategy should be reflective of supporting policies that meet legal obligations, and should be communicated to employees. It is important to always think: what else can we do? Mental health is everyone’s responsibility.

Lynn Walley joined us to talk about mindful awareness in the workplace. Having a background in coaching and leadership within the public sector, she was able to share her thoughts and knowledge on positive psychology. We discussed how individuals respond to challenges and change, and how negative thoughts can be reframed into positive goals.

Lynn asked the group what their biggest HR challenge is that they’re experiencing right now; three mains themes that came from this were managing sickness absence, culture change and capacity to lead and employee engagement. Although a fast environment is expected, people are trying to do too much, too fast, so we need to take the time to stop and rethink towards a positive mind-set. Lynn bases a lot of her work on Martin Seligman’s theories.

Mental health can be heavily influenced by job design. Take a look at your team, are the right people in the right jobs? Do you know your staff and their personalities? Fisher’s personal transition curve reflects the different thought processes of employees throughout change. (See diagram above).

Empathy and understanding are key management competencies to be able have authentic conversations with employees, building a good relationship based on trust and communication.The office environment, believe it or not, is a key component in shaping employees mental health as the ‘office vibe’ affects emotions. How does noise affect productivity? Silence increases this and creates new brain cells.

Carl Pearson is an executive coach and workshop leader and a qualified Tai Chi Practitioner and instructor. He discussed joy and happiness, quoting Mark Williams and Danny Penman: ‘mindfulness is a learnable mental practice to cope with stress and pressures of modern life’. The benefits of being mindful include:

⦁    Decreasing anxiety, depression and irritability
⦁    Improve memory and reaction times
⦁    Increase mental and physical stamina
⦁    Better relationships
⦁    Higher immune system response

Carl discussed mindful leadership, if leaders aren’t resilient, how can employees be?

As an example of mindfulness, Carl asked us to participate in a COSMIC exercise. We sat and focussed on our breathing and ‘taking a moment’; this exercise can be done by anyone to relieve stress and open the mind.
Engagement isn’t just being productive, receiving reward and recognition, being motivated or committed to goals; it is being creatively engaged through being mindful.

Mindfulness is not about learning to accept the unacceptable, it is about being aware of others and what makes them happy.

We’d love to hear your views and experiences on wellbeing in the workplace, so why not leave us a comment by clicking the comments box at the top of the page?

Time to Renew Our Vows?

08/12/2016 – PPMA | Comments (0)

Hello PPMA members and friends

This weeks’ post is written by President, Sue Evans, who mulls over whether integration is the holy grail for delivering on health and social care, or a hasty marriage based on shaky foundations.

“In maths – never my favourite subject – integration is described as ‘the inverse of differentiation’. I think that is an apt descriptor for what we are trying to achieve in health and social care and it is perhaps there that the solution, or lack of it, lies.

There are some essentials required if integration is to happen and, more importantly, be sustained.
• A focus on common ground;
• An understanding of what will make an integrated approach successful;
• A very clearly articulated vision of what the outcome needs to look like;
• A very clear reason for doing it in the first place;
• A shared understanding and recognition of what’s in it for each party and what each brings into the mix and expects to get from it and;
• A willingness to compromise and share.

So far so what? We know all that. So why isn’t there more progress on this agenda? The starting point is critical and considering the workforce issues early on in the process can make a positive difference to the way people think and feel about integration and the likelihood of success. With people in the mix the focus on similarity – the inversion of difference – becomes a deciding factor. What do we have in common, what is the benefit of coming together and what needs to be left behind to allow for new values, a new culture and a new and different set of relationships?

Time to explore the characteristics, habits, strengths and qualities of each party is time well spent and not doing so will end in tears at bedtime. We would never approach the building of any other relationship the way we sometimes approach integration –just imagine the scene.
Two people who vaguely know each other have just met properly and the conversation goes along the lines of:
A: ‘Shall we get married?’ (Pause for effect….looking hopeful and adding) ‘It seems like a good idea.’
B: ‘Oh, why not? You are in the same place as me and we can probably make some savings by moving in together.’
A: ‘That’s decided then, shall we look at places to live?”’
B: ‘OK, and can we have a blue carpet’.

It’s complete nonsense isn’t it? Yet in the early stages of planning integration the basic courtship required for successful long term relationships is largely overlooked in favour of focusing on systems and practicalities like the colour of the carpet and chairs or shared ICT. It is likely that more time will be spent on the practical issues of accommodation and communications than on the all – important thoughts, feelings, concerns, fears and hopes of the people involved. The ‘soft’ stuff will trip us up time and time again if we don’t pay any attention to it. HR and OD are key to brokering the kind of discussions which can make or break an integration deal.

Allowing time for those people involved to get together to think about the similarities and their common hopes and expectations will pay huge dividends. Let people get to know each other, find out what drives them, understand what their strengths and experience can bring to the enterprise. With a focus on inverting differentiation – reducing differences and building trust and confidence between players should take precedence early on. OD can help to build a shared sense of purpose and a respect for the different players and what they bring. Developing new approaches to working and managing the transition from the present to the future state will involve change and uncertainty. Acknowledging this can help people to leave things behind that don’t fit or work in the new world.

In the end the difference between successful integration and an unhappy marriage of convenience is the extent to which the parties can reach agreement, compromise and build on the similarities. A little patience and a lot of goodwill will go a long way and is more likely to be found where each party has something to gain from continuing the relationship and making it work. Those leading integration will be keen to get on with the work – of course, a great deal of hope and plenty of expectation is riding on it – but a slow and well planned lead-in, a courtship if you will, supported by effective OD and given the time to develop mutual trust and respect is more likely to result in a long and happy marriage than an acrimonious divorce.”

Sue Evans

PPMA President and Head of HR and OD at Warwickshire County Council

Sue Evans Video Update from the PPMA November Board Meeting

30/11/2016 – PPMA | Comments (0)

Hello PPMA members and friends

The November board meeting took place last week in London and lots of exciting things were discussed…and to keep you all in the loop, Sue Evans has recorded another of her brilliant video blog posts.