Barnsley Metropolitian Borough Council

We are currently in year three of a three-year leadership programme for Barnsley Metropolitan Borough Council (BMBC). The programme is in four tiers, including executive and senior leadership team, heads of service, middle and first line managers (approximately 570 participants). The leadership programme has been developed to assist the Council achieve it Future Council Strategy, which has a strong focus on developing and generating new income streams, streamlining its internal and business partner processes, creating trading services and new and creating innovative commercial opportunities. The programme uses blended learning to integrate eight bespoke one-day modules and has been developed to allow each tier of participants to achieve national accreditation through the Chartered Management Institute (CMI) including:

  • Certificate in Strategic Leadership and Management (Level 7)
  • Certificate in Leadership and Management (Level 5)
  • Certificate in First Line Management (Level 3)

The modules delivered are:

  • Leaders at every level;
  • Self-aware leaders (MBTI & 360-degree assessment);
  • Leading cultural change;
  • Customer Excellence
  • Continuous improvement;
  • Business planning and Service improvement.
  • Commercial Awareness
  • Personal Planning for the Future (Second 360-degree assessment)

The Leaders at every level and commercial awareness modules were seen as crucial in supporting and driving the corporate strategy and were designed three times to ensure they were truly bespoke to BMBC. We explore how to identify and deliver internal efficiencies before examining how to identify and create sustainable commercial opportunities and results. The module uses practical tools to help managers assess the commercial value of opportunities before guiding them into convert and action strategies.

The programme uses blended learning in the following ways:

E learning: self-assessment instruments; pre- and post-course activities booklets; mobile learning: individual development dashboards to capture learning; and small project teams that work as action learning sets. Here participants working in small teams undertake BMBC specific projects that enhance their personal learning while delivering business improvement results.

To date, all executive and senior leaders (including Director and deputy of finance) and middle managers have attended this programme, which has received excellent feedback. The first phase has been evaluated and also been subject to the IIP inspection with the following results identified.

  • Investors in People highlighting an approximate 10% positive shift in management culture after the first year of the programme being attributed to our programme by the IIP consultants;
  • A corporate review currently being undertaken by BMBC to re-design their performance improvement process as a result of the training provided;
  • Several business unit plans amended and re-written with an increased commercial focus as a result of the business planning and PDR module
  • Significant shifts in management behaviour demonstrating greater empowering of staff and taking ownership of personal learning.


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