Challenge often brings out the best in people and the members of Croydon Council’s human resources team have proved that rising to the biggest challenge that the council has ever faced has brought out the best in them.
Last Thursday (16), the team lifted the Change & Transformation Award at this year’s Public Service People Managers’ Association Excellence in People Management Awards, held in Bristol.
Going up against teams from local authorities from across the country – in what was described as the most competitive of the award categories – the Croydon team showed that innovation and determination had helped ensure ongoing first-rate service to residents in spite of savings over the past four years of £100m.
Judges were told that, as London’s biggest borough, Croydon’s population was continuing to grow significantly, resulting in a year-on-year increase in demand for services.
Allied to reductions in funding, that meant the council needed to revisit how it delivers services and makes best use of its resources. To be an efficient and effective council it needed to ensure that it has a workforce comprised of the right people, in the right jobs with the right skills at the right time.
Over the past year, the judges were told, the HR-managed change and transformation programme had supported the council in delivering £40m of savings for the benefit of residents, as well as major levels of efficiencies across the organisation, achieved while the HR department itself was restructuring and moving away from the traditional HR focus to a more strategic model.
Heather Daley, the council’s director of human resources, said: “Change and transformation is at the heart of what we do and my team has worked incredibly hard to bring this about as efficiently as possible, while ensuring regular communication with the staff to ensure they are always informed of developments.
“The organisation has gone from being a place where change was feared to a place where change is embraced, as well as owned, by everyone involved.”
Nathan Elvery, chief executive, said: “Our future focus is on both efficiency and effectiveness as the authority needs to save £100m by 2018, so we need to radically change how we operate.
“We’re looking at making our services more efficient and – vitally – more effective for all of our residents. Changing the way our council operates involves all members of staff. Ensuring they can all do their jobs to the very best of their abilities ensures that our residents receive the very best service we can offer.
“HR has been at the heart of this change, advising on restructuring and transformation, and this award is fully deserved by a team of professionals who are helping to make the challenge achievable.”