Bristol City Council celebrated a double win at this week’s PPMA (Public Sector People Managers’ Association) Excellence in People Management Awards in Birmingham as the authority’s diversity and organisational development programmes were nationally recognised.
The Stepping Up initiative, created to tackle the under representation of BAME (Black Asian and Minority Ethic) staff in senior roles in institutions across Bristol, was named best Inclusion and Diversity Programme at the ceremony.
Bristol also claimed the best HR/OD (Human Resources/Organisational Development) Change Management or Transformation Programme accolade for its senior leadership selection and development initiative.
Responding to a challenge from the Mayor of Bristol, Marvin Rees, that there should be greater representation of BAME Leaders across the city, the council worked with Professor Christine Bamford to design and develop the Stepping Up programme.
As many as 50 employers have already signed up to support and develop programme participants, establishing a senior talent pool and leadership pipeline in the process. Employers involved in the programme include Avon & Somerset Police, Bristol University and the University of the West of England (UWE), Burges Salmon, Hargreaves Salmon & Opus Talent Solutions.
The cross-city programme includes access to management and leadership qualifications, mentoring and coaching support and interview and presentation training.
Cllr Asher Craig, Deputy Mayor and Cabinet Member for Communities, Equalities and Public Health, who also led the establishment of the programme, said: “Bristol City Council has firmly established diversity at the top of the agenda and the impact of Stepping Up has been far reaching both within Bristol City Council and across partner organisations.
“More than 50 per cent of the programme’s participants have stepped into more senior roles, while 20 per cent applied for magistrate opportunities, directly impacting on fair representation of BAME within the judiciary system.
“Our aspiration is to see an increase in BAME progression and the programme has raised awareness across the management population and overall workforce around the under representation of the BAME workforce at senior leadership levels.
“Employers have indicated a significant shift in leadership capabilities, motivation and self- confidence, attributing these achievements to the Stepping Up Programme.’’
The council’s award-winning senior leadership transformation brought about a restructured, values-based recruitment campaign and development programme to transform the organisational culture at Bristol City Council.
Led by senior executives and the Mayor, the new structure replaced an existing framework of 25 posts, more than half of them filled on an interim basis, with 16 posts with which to achieve corporate priorities, create opportunities for greater collaboration and develop a high-performing culture.
Delivering a £1.5m reduction in salary costs, the programme runs alongside transformation work, including setting a new corporate strategy, co-designing with colleagues a values and leadership framework and a fresh approach to internal communications and engagement.
Having a demonstrable impact on the organisational culture, a (Local Government Association) LGA peer report highlighted that the new Executive Director team were “offering much needed leadership to the council’s workforce’’ and had “adopted and demonstrated daily the core values Bristol City Council has set for its staff.’’
Mike Jackson, Executive Director of Resources and Head of Paid Service, said: “This programme was about cultural transformation and not just a recruitment exercise. The new team are pivotal in shaping and leading the organisation’s culture and it was crucial that we have a team who share our values and have the leadership style to help us become a council we can all be proud of.’’