Actions not words

Immediate Release
Item Number 152/02

Merton Council’s Housing and Social Services department has launched an innovative training and development programme for its managers.

Responding to instances of low morale and many managers citing workload pressures, increasing targets and unavailability to attend training courses, the department’s management team has implemented the Action Learning Sets programme.

This programme of leadership and management development addresses the need to equip managers with the skills and knowledge to improve services for residents and clients.

The Action Learning Sets programme of continuous development linked to the workplace that, although seen as mandatory, has engaged managers to improve their own performance.

Working with Leach Consulting & Associates, Jo Williams, Head of Information Business Support and John Bill, Head of Training & Development created and designed a series of action learning sets based not only on the competencies, but other relevant ‘business’ needs.

These included:

· Leadership & Vision
· Performance Management
· Business Planning
· Managing the Change Process
· Communicating with your team
· Effective Financial Management
· Project Management
· Creativity & Innovation
· Coaching & Mentoring
· Partnerships – The new Agenda

The Action Learning Sets have been formed with a mixture of Housing, Children’s Services, Community Care and recently recruited IBS managers, thus enabling learning through partnerships and the exchange of new ideas.

Each Action Set is made up of eight to nine members and covers each topic area for ten sessions. The programme, started in June, will be completed in September 2003 and will have included 110 managers.

Director of Housing & Social Services, Rea Mattocks, said: “I am really pleased with the results of the Action Learning Sets programme.

“It has been an extremely challenging last two years at Merton and while we have come a long way in supporting residents and clients and providing high quality services, we had to take a step backwards and look at how we were supporting our managers.

“The training courses we used to use were not working and had just not delivered the required improvements and it was clear we needed to do something a bit more radical.

“What the Action Learning Sets programme has achieved above all else is to create a real sense of community within the department and I’m convinced, together with continuing dedication