Managing Improvement Essay
AC 2.1: Assess an opportunity for innovation and improvement in own organisation
As already discussed in Section 1, business productivity and change cannot occur without effecting people’s psychology to effect change. I initially felt that supervision would be fundamental to addressing and identify issues to allow reflection to plan a way forward to address issues, such as, performance management, productivity, effectiveness and understanding the views of the individuals to effect and improve individuals and team goals, and linking this to the business plan. This approach I felt would assist in establishing the individual’s goals to reaching and exceeding key performance indicators, such as completing assessments within timescales, as communication would be flowing in respect of planning and execution, as change can only be effectively implemented through proper planning and communication (Peter, 2006)
“For supervision to be effective it needs to combine a performance management approach with a dynamic, empowering and enabling supervisory relationship. Supervision should improve the quality of practice, support the development of integrated working and ensuring continuing professional development” (pg 141, Tilmouth &Quallington, 2012).
An example of this is ensuring workers understand why performance targets are in place. For example if a worker is told they have to have a assessment completed within a specific time but are given no reason for this then their motivation to complete the requested assessment does not occur. However, if you explain that delay in assessments create delays in services that are provided for children, and this could have a detrimental impact.
This therefore gives reason and creditability to a worker which gives meaning and this can result in the work being completed as required and therefore ensuring targets are met in respect of time management in line with the identified business plan, and guidance and audits in respect of Ofsted are met. Crawford 2013, would agreed with me as he believes that failure in executing change is not due to the strategy but in the way the change is delivered and executed in respect of staff psychology (2013, Building and Effective Change Management Organisation Second Edition)
I realised by giving reason and understanding as to why such deadlines and expectations were in place and allowing staff members to reflect on this, putting ideas in place, such as how work load management could be addressed. This not only motivated staff but this effected a change in their views regarding their own practice, this conspired to have a positive ripple effect with regard to service delivery as a whole unit.
This approach also assisted in addressing areas that Ofsted had risen especially with regard to listening and communicating with staff to effect positive change and also how we could improve the current work load management system. This saw an increase in productivity and we as a team were going over and above the expected targets in all areas in respect of services; service delivery and identifying services that would be efficient with regard to addressing concerns and putting appropriate interventions in place instead of reverting to crisis management like we had been criticised for previously.
Nevertheless, issues continued to be identified with regard to achieving in all areas of the business plan for example issues around cost, consistent supervision and identifying training needs. This was due to implications in respect of policies and procedures, as there was no system in place that could “assess” workload management and also consider what was needed to monitor the success and efficiently in respect of meeting the services users needs, Ofsted and also issues such as cost, especially as overtime had significantly increased to ensure timely responses and reduce delay. This therefore was not addressing the issue with regard to productivity and effectiveness. I also sensed that delays in some respects were being created to enable staff to claim money with regard to overtime.
Therefore, I was still identifying issues in respect of staff member’s psychology in respect of meeting targets as their views still appeared disjointed and addressing this and progressing staff through change with regard to addressing work load management in respect of meeting all key performance indictor would initially be a difficult task to achieve especially in respect of meeting the business plan and Ofsted’s expectations in relation to areas such as cost, consistent supervision and guidance in respect of work load management and training need. Therefore this created an opportunity for me to develop a system to improve work load management and create systems to enable work load management to be audited to ensure it was meeting all the requirements with regard to the business plan and Ofsted.
AC 2.2: Justify the improvement identified, in the context of organisation objectives
As already discussed it became apparent that the workload management system needed to be developed and changed to enable staff to meet the required targets, especially as current policy and political agenda was highlighting this as a significant issue in respect of work load and work load management (Munro 2011). As this was known to be impacting on production, cost and linked to serious case reviews throughout the UK. I found within all political agenda, the local authority business plan and Ofsted, their reference to work load, considered and discussed the number of cases people had, but no consideration was given to the complexities of the cases and therefore impacting on the time and resources that would be required.
I believed this was having a significant impact on moving forward and assessing issues such as productivity, staff member’s development/training and cost. Therefore, a system needed to be in place to evaluate and identify staff member’s workloads which could address and assist with the issues raised above. Furthermore within team meetings this issue was being raised by staff members. Therefore, I considered that a system was needed that looked at not only the number of cases people held but the level of complexity and this in my opinion could be a fair system than people being given a set number of cases.
In order to address, assess and justify the improvements required I needed to look at a framework to assist me in how to effect the change to improve work load management in respect of this. This was how the “point” system was born. I will discuss further within the next sections how this system was developed and the justification for the system.
Within the current environment I work in today Solution Focused Approach is applied to all parts of the business, this includes problem solving, reviewing and acknowledging what is to be achieve, by analyse and identify – including what works well and what may have to be done differently to achieve and then of course making adjustments and taking a step forward to make the changes. Although this theory I felt would be useful in respect of assisting with the psychology of change and the transition through change with staff I felt I needed a theory which would assist me in pinpoint the issues and identifying quickly innovation and changes required in order to put actions in to place and put timescales around those actions. In order to monitor success and of course address areas for development
Therefore, I believed that the SWOT analysis would enable me to understand the issues, review innovation and of course implement the change. This method would also assist in the justification of change or identify if change was necessary.
Swot Analysis is a structured planning method used to evaluate strengths weakness opportunities and threats involved in undertaking a task or project. This enables the internal and external factor to be considered with regard to achieving an objective.
Complexities of work would be identified and levels in respect of right members of staff completing the work would be identified.
Clearer planning and time scales with regard to staff meeting targets as the level of complexity had been identified.
Identifying training needs
Creating a clear guide for supervision with regard to performance management that promotes consistent supervisions as the format used would be in place throughout the local authority.
Targets being incorporated into one document would be able to monitor key performance indictors
Cost as this could reduce overtime as this could assist with staff not being overloaded.
Staff not buying in.
The points system being business and performance lead and not addressing the personal aspect in respect of the individual.
This would result in limited buy in from staff and the transition of change being hindered and placing barriers with regard to change.
Time in respect of managers having to review and implement the points system
Assessment not being completed to an appropriate standard as focus being on time and work load. External Origin
Productivity and efficiently with regard to services users having their needs met.
A more effective service
Reduction in public spending
Cost regarding change of systems
Not meeting Ofsted’s standards resulting in failure
This Swot Analysis enabled me to consider and plan a framework in respect of how a pointing system could work. I developed a pointing system in respect of weekly expectations and identified points for a number of tasks that had to be undertaken throughout the week. I also consider other issues that would also need to be taken into account including staff member’s personal issues such as holidays and training as I knew they would also have to be considered and reflected within the points systems. I also realised that this tool would assist in the justification of paying overtime as if staff members were over pointed then overtime could be paid.
The points I developed were reflected as the number of hours a week a member of staff works and the more complex the case the higher the points were increased. I also consider guidance that was provided from the government and Ofsted in respect of caseloads and the management of case loads to ensure the point system met all their requirements. The points plan was then put before senior management and was approved to be used under a pilot scheme to see if this had a positive change in respect of work load management, for example, productivity (consistent supervisions as a guide would be in place regarding performance management), identifying training needs and cost.
AC 2.3: Use a range of techniques to generate innovative options to deliver the improvement identified
Although I had used Swot Analysis in respect of planning and developing change as I knew a change needed to happen. I was still in a position in which I did not know how to go about delivering it. Where did I start? Whom did I involve? And how did you see it through?
I therefore recognised that I needed a methodology to assist me in taking leadership in effecting and assess the change that I was trying to achieve. I found there was numerous methods, tools and models, each with their own strengths and weaknesses. However, as previously discussed and identified by Hiatt and Creasey (2012), I needed a methodology that would not only engineer an approach to improving business performance but would also address the psychology to managing the human side of change.
I considered Prosci Change Management Methodology Maturity Model as this focuses on the “the people side of change”. “The model reinforces the need for individuals to change and understand change by instilling:
Awareness: This is recognizing the need for change.
Desire: Who needs to participate in the change?
Knowledge: Who has the knowledge to guide the change?
Ability: Who will implement skill sets and change behaviours?
Reinforcement: Who will lay the foundation for change initially and for the future?” (Hiatt & Creasy, 2012)
However this focused too heavily on the individual and I needed a model that not only looked at the individual psychology to change but also engineered an approach to improving business performance, in which a leadership role could be filter though and assist in an opportunity to reflect to ensure the changes being made when beneficial for staff, meeting the business plan and also meeting the guidance set out by Ofsted. If this was incorrect then the consequences would be detrimental resulting in the local authority failing. Therefore a process was require in which the change could be constantly reviewed and adapted to ensure it was meeting all the needs initially identified.
I found most methodologies that I reviewed derived from Kotter’s 8 steps to change. Kotter 1995 identified an 8-Step process for leading change. The key principle covered by each of these steps relates to establishing strong leadership, people’s response, ability and approach to change.
Step 1: Establishing a Sense of Urgency
Step 2: Creating the Guiding Coalition
Step 3: Developing a Change Vision
Step 4: Communicating the Vision for Buy-in
Step 5: Empowering Broad-based Action
Step 6: Generating Short-term Wins
Step 7: Never Letting Up
Step 8: Incorporating Changes into the Culture.
Therefore this model would allow me to see where the business was at the present time and identify areas of improvement and the strengths already in place. It would assist in steering it in the right direction and put actions and goals in place to meet the short and long term objectives, not only identified in the business plan but also in respect of Ofsted, services user’s needs and staffs needs.
AC 2.4: Evaluate options for generating the proposed improvement to determine feasibility and viability
As previously discussed and highlighted in Section 1, a work load management scheme was in place and it had been deemed appropriate although it was raised that there was still areas that needed improvement which had been raised in the Ofsted inspection in 2013.
This needed to be addressed and reviewed in order for improvements to be seen in respect of Stockton’s rating in relation to Ofsted. The areas as already discussed were in respect of supervision, timeliness of social workers responses and assessment in respect of service delivery and cost.
And as discussed although there was a system in place which was deemed to be appropriate, it was evident from staff, senior management and Ofsted that this had to be developed to meet the needs of the service as it was still creating inconsistencies in the areas raised above. Therefore the system I reviewed and planned would, and was evaluated to create the outcomes we were trying to improve in the areas identified. It would be keeping in line with the business plan and the expectations of Ofsted but also with what staff members were requesting to develop a system that assisted them in the day to day management of their workload.
It appeared feasible to put this plan into place as it appeared achievable as it was in line with all the recommendations and there was already a foundation for this to be built upon with the current work load management system in place. Also the cost to the development and structure of this plan would be minimal and could hopefully see a reduction in government spending.
However, I recognised there could be disruptions to the delivery and putting the plan in place with regard to the new workload system, in relation to how this was rolled out and managed with the organisation. Especially, if it was not conveyed appropriately as resistance would occur and internal and external factors already previously discussed would be impacted upon and not appropriately addressed. This would therefore create a barrier and could potentially prevent the change from occurring , therefore not addressing the issues raised by Ofsted and Ofsted potentially failing the local authority as the issues identified in the previous audit had not been addressed.
Learning outcome/ Section 3: Be able to lead and manage change within a organisation, planning and implementing a project to meet, and if possible exceed, customer expectation
AC 3.1: Create a change in management and improvement plan that is designed to meet and possible exceed customers and other stakeholders expectations
Therefore to address the issues raised in section 2 of this assignment I used Kotter’s 8 step process, 1995, to assist me and lead the change in respect to putting the work load management “points” system in place to change how work load management was evaluated and reviewed.
This is how I approached it: –
In respect of Step 1: Establish a sense of urgency:
As already identified for a change to happen it helps if all involved wants the change to happen. It was already identified that this change was wanted by all, including Ofsted, senior management and ground staff. Therefore this created a sense of urgency and as already discussed these issues had been raised from supervisions, team meetings management meeting and Ofsted audit. This therefore sparked the motivation required, and although ideas had been formed people were also contributing and providing ideas to establish a way forward. As already discussed this was not about focusing and criticising individuals on what was not working but providing an honest and transparent dialogue about expectations and the impact it has on as whole in respect of Ofsted, services users and staff themselves.
This created a positive vibe in respect of doing things differently in relation to work load management. Kotter 1995 suggests that for change to be successful over 75% of the work force involved has to buy into the change. This was why I worked hard within individual supervision, team meetings and management meetings to create and build a sense of urgency as I recognised appropriate preparation was required so everyone involved could move to the next step and be confident that they felt a change was required and that they would buy into this change.
Step 2: Creating the Guiding Coalition
I recognised that I had to stand strong as a leader and have clear conviction as to how the change would not only impact staff but would be beneficially in respect of meeting Ofsted targets and the business plan, for example, to using this as a tool to develop supervision so supervision became for consistent. I realised if I had key significant people support this vision that they could assist on the development of the change. For example the policy and procedure business manager found the ideas regarding the change regarding work load management would be beneficial and he believed it could be incorporated in to the current policies and procedures and recognised that this could have a positive effect in respect of meeting targets for Ofsted in a very innovative way. As a result of this a steering group was developed and incorporated in this group was myself, senior management, management and ground staff.
Step 3: Developing a Change Vision
As already discussed I provided my vision and plan which I had developed using SWOT Analysis. We used this tool as the bases to develop the idea I had initially formed. This enabled ideas to be tweaked slightly but it provided an overall vision which people could grasp and easily remember. This allowed people to see what was trying to be achieved and gave a sense of direction. From this a format, a tool regarding the points system and a points system was developed which was not only going to be used as a weekly guide for the Assessment Team but was going to be developed for all teams within the local authority but would be adapted for the needs of the individual teams. Once again bring consistency within the whole of the organisation.
Step 4: Communicating the Vision for Buy-in
I found that communication was key to any form of change and in the initial stages of the development, discussion were held constantly with everyone regarding how systems could be put in place to effect positive change with regard to workload management (in respect of delivery, reviewing and monitoring), and throughout the process I discussed progress and issues we were finding with everyone to prepare people for the change but also to make people part of the change.
So many times i have found especially within local authorities “special meetings” are held to communicate a vision, however, in my view this does not assist with regard to preparing people and assisting people to go through that transition of change. I found talking about it at every chance assisted in people taking ownership of the change and being part of the decision making and also problem solving if issues did arise. It also helps for people to have a clear understanding and promotes a consistent structure.
AC 3.2: implement the plan, monitoring progress against agreed targets
Step 5: Empowering Broad-based Action
When I reached this point I found the majority of the staff members were excited about the changes and were ready for it to commencement in respect of the overhaul in relation to work load management. However, I did find there were a few people who were resisting with regard to the changes and were reluctant to see how the changes would be of benefit to them. They focused heavily on that their overtime would be reduced and they questioned how the points system would be monitor in relation to ensuring the point for the different levels of complexities were monitor and pointed correctly.
I found there was justification in their concerns and realised quickly if these barriers were not addressed the feasibility and execution of the points system would fail, therefore, there had to be some consideration as to how this could be reviewed not only by management but by all including staff and Ofsted who would of course question why different levels of complexities had been pointed. I found the answer was already in place which had been highly commended by Ofsted and this was our Performance Indicator clinics. This system already reviewed on an individual/team basis the throughput of work. By adjusting this slightly we could still review the throughput of work but develop it to ensure the points and time given to different complexities of work married with the time given for work to be completed.
This also would assist in the following step to see within a short period of time if the system was achieving goals which would boast motivation as people’s achievement would be highlighted immediately. The proposal of the slight changes in the performance clinic staff became empowered and became ready for the pilot scheme to commence. Staff members were feeling confident and were discussing the benefits to the system and this was already being structured into case and personal supervisions. This resulted in the pilot scheme starting.
Step 6: Generating Short-term Wins
As planned the system very quickly identified short term wins in respect of the distribution of work for example instead of people have 14 cases each, where one person may have 14 cases of high complexity and another may have a case load of 14 of low complexity people were feeling that cases were being evenly distributed and this was evidence by the points sheets being distributed to staff and senior management.
Performance clinics were also identifying that the throughput of work was increasing as people cases were more manageable as they were being evenly distributed. It was also evidencing training needs for individuals to support them with the different complexities of cases and in respect of cost we found that overtime reduced as people were managing to complete work in the required time. However, staff members were able to justify immediately if they required overtime, if they were over pointed and this had a positive motivating feel for all involved.
As a result we developed as a team that instead of allowing assessments to go 45 days, assessment that could be completed at an early stage would be done so, and this was managed and reviewed within fortnightly case supervision, creating a consistent supervision guide. This developed a very positive attitude to work load management in which individuals were becoming accountable for monitoring and reviewing their own case load and giving them self time scales, which they were taking ownership of, with oversight from management.
This had a significant change with regard to figures in respect of the turnover of assessment and when this was reviewed by the government statistics against other local authorities we were being commended for the assessment being completed in a timely manner and we did not have one assessment that went out of timescales which in this day and age is a huge achievement. To ensure assessment were still to a high level, assessment were still being quality assured by management and also being audit regularly by senior management and due to positive feedback this created a very motivated work force.
Step 7: Never Letting Up
Kotter 1995 argues that many change projects fail because victory is declared too early although we realised that this change was very positive and it was having a positive effects, we knew the long term goal would have to ensure that this system then assisted and filtered into all core business, for example rolling through the all the teams, ensuring a reduction in government spending and ensuring standards remained high in respect of Ofsted audit. We knew this was a bases that could be used and developed to meet the needs of all of the services but it needed to be continued to be built upon and opportunities would continue to be identified to improve the service.
Therefore key to this was developing it and linking it to all core business which was initially discussed in section 2 by the business and policy and procedure management. Quick wins are therefore only the beginning of what is needed to be done to achieve long-term change, as each success provides an opportunity to build on what went right and identify what you can improve.
Step 8: Incorporating Changes into the Culture.
Therefore to ensure the changes stood we looked at rolling it out to all of the core business within the whole organisation. The feedback within the entire organisation from refuge collection to maintenance in respect of the points system was very positive as it was a system that was adaptable to meet every section of the local authority. In respect of senior management they had a system that clearly showed performance and identified areas of strength and weakness and what needed to be done to build on these areas, and in respect of staff they had a tool that assisted them on a day to day basis in respect of work load management.
This assisted in the change becoming solid in the organisational culture and this has lead to positive support by everyone involved. This was reinforced further by the audit which I discussed in Section 1 in which Northumberland found the system that we developed was so exceptional that they believed that this would assist in the their organisation. This therefore is not only being seen in our organisation now but it is now being rolled out to other local authorities and positive feedback is being given and this continues to promote the support and the continuation of the change. Therefore when we are audited by Ofsted we hope the changes made will increase our rating as an effectively run local authority.
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