Hefcereport gb


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Hefcereport gb

  1. 1. Dr Gregory Borne South West Life Long Learning Network Response to HEFCE Sustainable Development Consultation 2005 Appendix 7: Background to the Competencies Lexicon and indicative project with One Cornwall Rapid changes in facilitated by processes of globalisation are fundamentally altering governance structures world wide (Beck 2006; Borne 2009a). These processes are having profound effects on organisational structures United Nations through to more localised public sector organisations. Recent government reports (Leitch 2006; Lyons 2004; Stern 2007) as well as more overarching governmental policy documents (DCLG 2006; HMGOV 2005) are beginning to translate these rapidly altering global processes into concrete political imperatives. The changing context from within which public sector organisations need to operate directly effect the types of skills, educational needs and general competencies that are required to operate successfully and efficiently. The role of competencies within organisational structures is increasingly being identified as an important component of organisational dynamics. Whilst competencies are an integral part of the operational framework of public organisations. They are however variously perceived and diversely implemented. In order to identify the competency requirements and educational needs of public sector organisations a research programme was designed and implemented that focused on extensive employer engagement. The following will briefly outline the research process. Aim The primary Aim was to engage with employers to identify and document the ‘Core Competencies’ and associated behaviours required by the Public and Third Sector in the South West to meet the challenges of 2015 and beyond. Methodology In order to achieve this aim an exploratory qualitative methodology was employed. This proceeded in three stages. The first, explored the growing literature base that exists on the role of competencies both nationally and internationally. The second involved an analysis of documents concerning competencies provided by the organisations concerned. The third, the analysis of in depth interviews conducted with each organisation. Literature Review To ensure that the total spectrum of knowledge on this subject was used in the final analysis, a broad literature review was conducted. The plethora of academic and management books and papers on his topic covers a considerable time frame. To ensure that the documents written on this topic were relevant and up- to-date the researchers limited the back ground reading from 1979 to 2006. Stage Two: Supporting Documentation Identified organisations were asked to provide supporting documentation when visited. Such documentation ranged from comprehensive competency frameworks
  2. 2. to vague indications of the role or competencies within their organisations. Stage Three: Interview Procedure In-depth interviews were conducted with participating public sector organisations. It was necessary to select a broad range of public sector organisations. Relevant organisations were identified and contacted, firstly by email and secondly by telephone. The majority of organisations contacted were willing to take part in the project. The programme of employer engagement interviews had to be carefully managed so group and individual interviews could take place across this large geographical area. Whilst the interviews remained qualitative and in-depth a thematic guide was developed in order to elicit the relevant information from interviewees. The following outlines the questions that constituted this guide. ● Does your organisation have a set of competencies? ● What are the key competencies in your organisations? ● How are these Competencies integrated into your recruiting, appraisal and performance processes? ● What and where do you document and capture this information? ● How did you select your set of competencies? ● Do you use competencies to drive your organisations performance agenda? ● How do you monitor these competencies? ● Do these cascades throughout the organisation? Results Participating organisations provided unique insights into the importance that competencies played within their organisational frameworks as well as in the public sector more broadly. The table below displays the core competencies identified by participating organisations. As the research progressed a set of generic competencies were identified. The following table outlines these competencies. Identified Competencies A Partnership H Performance B Management I Policy C Leadership J Political D Interpersonal skills K Project Management E Communication L Finance F Managing Ethnicity M Centrality G Sustainability N Management of the environment Building on these 14 competencies broader competency elements were developed along with associated behavioural factors. The resulting competency lexicon is designed to achieve a number of goals. Firstly, it highlights some generic competencies and associated behaviours. Secondly, it stratifies these competencies through levels of organisational structure across the public sector. And thirdly, it draws together specific competencies that relate to the requirements of the sustainable development agenda. Issues of sustainable development and sustainability were found to be an issue that was particularly required in organisational frameworks. It was found however that there was a significant competency gap with the regard to sustainable development. In order to address this issue the lexicon provides competencies on this subject from two primary sources Firstly, it identifies existing competencies and behaviours that can be utilised for achieving a sustainable development. Secondly, it draws on extensive literature consultation to offer supplementary competencies that can be
  3. 3. applied laterally across organisations and vertically throughout the organisation. In sum the lexicon provides a multifaceted tool, assisting public sector organisations to respond to contemporary political dynamics as well as offering an information source for higher and further education institutions for the effective development of curricula. A significant advancement of the above mentioned research programme has been an initiative that aims to understand the training and educational needs of all Parish councillors and associated workers in Devon and Cornwall. The following section will briefly outline the Cornwall component of this exercise. Understanding Parish and Town Council Needs for a Sustainable Cornwall Project Objectives The project ‘Understanding Town and Parish Needs for a Sustainable Cornwall’ has three primary aims. The first is to understand the educational and training needs of parish council members, with the goal of developing more relevant courses and training that will benefit parish council members and the wider community. This aim focuses very much on the notion of work force development and responds to the changing needs of public sector workers. Secondly, The project is designed to help understand what active members of the parish governance structure feel their needs are within the changing local government framework. Importantly, parish councils are becoming front runners in achieving sustainable communities and form a front line vehicle for the efficient and effective allocation of resources. Results and recommendations from the project will aid in a more synergistic policy environment between the global and local levels of government. Thirdly by understanding issues around sustainable development and sustainability the project will provide a crucial resource in the development of higher and further education curriculum that emphasise the importance of sustainable development in Higher Education (HEFCE 2005, 2008). Furthermore, the public sector and local government are a significant employer in the South west as well as across the country as a whole and the identified needs for increased sustainable development knowledge at the local level need to be more effectively understood. Significantly, this project will create a higher education environment that is capable of responding, in a timely fashion to the needs of the public sector. Fourthly the research results will be integrated into the overall competency lexicon framework creating a robust tool that can be used as a medium for; Identifying the needs of public sector organisations; Developing curriculum in Higher and Further education; and the Accreditation of Prior Experiential Learning (APEL) Methodology The research methodology utilises both qualitative and quantitative methodologies. An extensive literature review is carried out that relates to the areas of theory, policy, practice and implementation providing a comprehensive and multifaceted overview of the research area. A comprehensive survey is
  4. 4. dispatched to all parish and town councils (as well as parish groups). A significant numbers of interviews with parish councillors and associated staff will also be carried out to complement survey data. Using discourse analysis and grounded theory a robust analytical framework will be used that will address the project objectives. Project Partnership From the outset partnership has been fostered with the relevant organisations. Close ties have been maintained between the South West LifeLong Learning Network, Cornwall County Council, Cornwall Association of Local Councils and the Society of Local Council Clerks. All parties have agreed to a Terms of reference for the project. Summary The process of employer engagement and curriculum development facilitated by the South West LifeLong leaning Network will contribute significantly to the work force development within the public sector in the South West. Continued work in this area, in partnership with local government and non governmental organisations will facilitate a review of current skill needs and offer future insights into the skills and educational needs in the public sector across the region. References Beck, U. (1999). World Risk Society. Malden Mass, Polity Press Borne (2009a) Sustainable Development: The Reflexive Governance of Risk New York Edwin Meller Press Department for Communities and Local Government (2006) Strong and Prosperous Communities - The Local Government White Paper http://www.communities.gov.uk/publications/localgovernment/strongprosperous, accessed 05/05/07 Higher Education Funding Council for England (2005) Sustainable Development in Higher Education http://www.hefce.ac.uk/pubs/hefce/2005/05_01/ 24/09/05 Higher Education Funding Council for England (2005) Sustainable Development in Higher Education http://www.hefce.ac.uk/pubs/hefce/2008/08_18/ accessed 24/06/08 HMGOV (2005) Securing the Future - UK Government sustainable development strategy http://www.sustainable-development.gov.uk/publications/uk- strategy/index.htm, accessed 04/08/06 Leitch, S., (2006) Leitch Review of Skills, Prosperity for all in the global economy - world class skills, http://www.hm- treasury.gov.uk/independent_reviews/leitch_review/review_leitch_index.cfm, accessed 23/03/07 Lyons, M., (2004) The Lyons Review: Independent Review of Public Sector Relocation http://www.hmtreasury.gov.uk/consultations_and_legislation/lyons/consult_lyons
  5. 5. _index.cfm, accessed 05/06/05 Stern N., (2007) Stern Review on the Economics of Climate Change http://www.hm- treasury.gov.uk/independent_reviews/stern_review_economics_climate_change/s ternreview_index.cfm , accessed 09/02/08