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Equipping managers to lead organisational transformation

Roffey Park 20th May 2014
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Faced with a changing landscape and political pressures, the Ministry of Justice recognised the need for change to be able to deliver justice effectively in today’s climate. Enhancing leadership capability was critical to delivering change successfully.

The challenge

The Ministry of Justice works to provide a more effective, transparent and responsive criminal justice system for the public and victims of crime. As one of the largest government departments, the Ministry of Justice employs around 67,000 people and is also responsible for reforming the criminal justice system and making new laws.

To ensure a modern judicial system that can meet current and future needs, senior Ministry leaders recognised the need for transformation across the organisation. This would require leaders with a wider range of skills and capabilities to drive such largescale organisational change.

Against a backdrop of public sector spending cuts, departmental restructures, reduction in headcount and delivering more with less, it became clear that developing existing talent to deliver the transformation agenda was critical.

The solution

As Dawn Ashcroft, Talent Manager at the Ministry of Justice, explains, “The level of management directly beneath Senior Civil Servants was identified as key to delivering change successfully. Although strong operational performers, these managers needed to develop the leadership skills and strategic thinking required to lead change and make the transition into senior civil service roles within the next 18 months”.

Having worked with Roffey Park previously and following a rigorous selection process, Roffey Park’s combination of reputation, proven track record, tailored leadership development approach and quality of consultants made them the natural choice.

“A particular strength of the Roffey Park approach is their Self-Managed Learning philosophy”, adds Ashcroft. “Roffey Park provides the essential ingredients for developing effective leaders, but becoming a leader is down to the individual. They encourage people to take responsibility and develop what great leadership looks like for them personally, a much more authentic approach”.

“Roffey Park provides the essential ingredients for developing effective leaders. They encourage people to take responsibility and develop what great leadership looks like for them”.

The approach

Roffey Park collaborated with the Ministry of Justice Talent Team and senior Ministry leaders to develop ‘The Leadership Edge’, a talent development programme designed around the seven key leadership traits identified within the Ministry’s ‘purposeful leadership’ model.

The programme was aimed at employees who had been identified by business leaders, using evidence from talent discussions and a Nine-Box Talent Review Grid, as having the potential and ambition to lead and become Senior Civil Service leaders.

Adopting a blended approach with experiential learning, the ten-month programme comprised of the following key elements:

  • A half-day development centre to identify areas for personal development.
  • Launch event, including personal development centre feedback.
  • Self-managed 360 degree feedback conversations.
  • 4.5 day residential development programme held at Roffey Park, focusing on leadership traits.
  • Learning sets delivered in groups and facilitated by Roffey Park, to pursue personal action plans, embed learning and apply newly acquired skills to current business challenges identified within the Ministry’s transformation agenda.
  • 2 day skills workshop focusing on a topic selected by each cohort.
  • Masterclasses with expert speakers, focusing on topics relevant to organisational priorities.
  • Senior leader mentors to support participants from within the Ministry.
  • Dedicated portal of resources hosted on the Ministry’s main e-learning portal.

Roffey Park developed a bespoke programme aligned to the Ministry’s Transforming Justice People Plan. “Roffey Park was able to design a leadership development programme around our organisational goals and existing competency framework”, explains Ashcroft. “This meant the programme focused on core leadership competencies such as leadership skills, strategic thinking, delivering at pace, stakeholder management and supporting people to be their best”.

Roffey Park’s pragmatic approach meant that programme content was tailored to meet the specific and changing needs of each group of participants. Each cohort also co-designed the content of the two-day skills workshop to ensure practical application of learning to specific business challenges.

“89% of respondents report that the programme has improved their performance at work and 61% have been promoted or moved to roles with increased responsibility”

The results

The talent development programme designed by Roffey Park was delivered to 143 people across 12 cohorts. Initially developed for the Ministry of Justice, the programme has been extended to Home Office and Department for Energy and Climate Change employees.

The programme has made a clear and measurable impact on leadership capability and effectiveness:

  • Improved performance – 89% of respondents report that the programme has improved their performance at work.
  • Improved leadership capability – 61% of respondents have been promoted or changed roles with increased responsibility since participating in the programme, 30% promoted to senior civil service roles.
  • Improved talent retention – 63% of participants say they are more likely to stay with the Ministry of Justice as a result of being on the programme.
  • Qualitative feedback identified additional benefits, such as improved confidence, personal recognition, strategic thinking, ability to lead change, people management and employee engagement.

As evaluation by each cohort informed the design for the next cohort, the programme has naturally evolved. Direct application of learning to business challenges enables enhanced return on investment and lasting results.

“Critical to the success of the programme was senior stakeholder
endorsement”, comments Ashcroft. “Roffey Park worked closely with senior stakeholders to ensure the programme met their objectives and invited Senior Civil Servants to participate as programme speakers, observers and mentors. This helped to gain visibility and support for the programme with senior leaders”.

She adds, “Roffey Park was responsive to our needs. They listened to our requirements, tailored content to meet the specific needs of each group and invested time to understand our organisation and its values, culture, goals and challenges. They helped to transform the way our people work and, in turn, transform our organisation”.

“Roffey Park delivered every step of the way”, concludes Ashcroft. “They exceeded our expectations in terms of delivering a wide range of programme elements across many cohorts and the Roffey Park consultants brought experience, expertise and energy to the learning process.”