Buckinghamshire Fire and Rescue Service reports on its 'Moving Forward' agenda which will lead to new ways of working and a 'new organisational culture'.

Buckinghamshire Fire and Rescue Service is committed to our 'Moving Forward' agenda - an organisational wide improvement programme introducing change on a scale the organisation has not previously experienced. This will involve a complete restructuring of the organisation, the introduction of new ways of working and the development of a new organisational culture.

We recognised from the start that one of the outcomes is the need for first class leadership throughout the organisation and decided we required our own leadership and management development programme to support this ambitious programme of change.

We commissioned Helen Watson of Public Sector Training and Consultancy - a trainer with over 20 years' experience of leadership training in the public sector - to work closely with us to design and deliver a bespoke leadership and management development programme specific to our particular organisational needs. The resulting programme has six key aims:

• To enhance and develop leadership and managerial competencies throughout the organisation

• To clarify both the required new ways of working and also the behaviours expected of all managers within the organisation

• To strengthen accountability for decision-making and performance

• To introduce consistency in leadership across the organisation and to help remove 'silo' working

• To make a difference to the way the organisation works and to equip all leaders with the knowledge, skills and confidence to enable them to play their own individual part in making that difference

• To encourage everyone to take responsibility for their own continual leadership development.


Developing a Performance Culture 

From the outset the programme was designed using Buckinghamshire Fire and Rescue Service's corporate plan and strategic priorities to ensure the development of thinking would become more aligned with strategic direction, and to support the development of a performance culture. Helen used these documents in her design of materials, breakout sessions and tasks to support the application of the leadership skills being acquired and developed.

All leaders in the organisation are attending the leadership programme which comprises three stages. The first stage, which started in November 2011, involves all senior and middle managers and will be completed in June 2012. The second stage, commencing September 2012, is focussed on all watch managers and equivalent supervisory managers. After its completion in March 2013, the final stage of the programme will be rolled out to crew managers and their equivalents.

The senior and middle management programme has been extremely well received with excellent feedback and comprises two elements - a diagnostic phase and a delivery phase. In the diagnostic phase, managers complete an online occupational and personality questionnaire and then receive one-to-one feedback on the results from the trainer on their preferred approach to tasks, their interaction with people and how they manage their feelings and emotions. The discussion links the feedback to the FRS's personal qualities and attributes, highlights which specific parts of the following workshops will be most helpful to each individual manager, and closes with the agreement of personal learning objectives for the next phase of the programme.

The second stage involves the delivery of five one-day modules, specifically designed to equip managers to become better, more effective leaders in Bucks fire. Each of the five workshops is highly participative and practical, using bespoke exercises, case-studies, scenarios and role-plays based on "live" issues within the organisation so as to develop learning and skills. The emphasis throughout is on developing skills and behaviours, along with confidence, and therefore concentrates on "how to do things" as well as "what" to do.

See June issue of FIRE for full article.


Posted July 2nd, 2012 at 0920 by Andrew. Comment by emailing: andrew.lynch@pavpub.com