I have a master’s degree in Human Resources, so I thought I had something to offer when I was asked to join the Attendance Management Network in 2013 – although I didn’t expect to soon be leading it!
Since then, I have led the group of around 25 individuals from 13 different departments and organisations, combining our knowledge, skills and experience in the subject matter. Connecting professionals across boundaries in this way has enabled us to share our collective expertise across the Civil Service in our region.
The network’s members have designed and developed a consultancy tool and methodology to enable us to maximise the group’s knowledge and help others. This means that departments can get professional attendance management advice from experts without bringing in external consultants, maximising the abilities of experienced, in-house professionals.
We have also designed and hosted four discovery events across the North West – in Salford, Southport, Blackpool and Lilyhall, Cumbria – aimed at first line managers, to help them understand the aims of attendance management and the personal impact they can have on people.
There have been many highlights to leading the network, but the one which stands out is completing the first consultancy visit and providing feedback to the management group who had asked for our help.
I went back 12 months later to see if our work had made a difference, and I am pleased to say that it did. The group is full of energy, with some really great ideas being generated, which will lead to new discovery events that we plan to test and deliver at the end of 2016.
There are clear benefits for our colleagues in ensuring managers are supportive in their approach to attendance, and to citizens in maximising the number of days we provide services to them. Personally, I have gained a lot from understanding the issues and pressures in other departments, developing a new network of contacts across the region, and learning from some really inventive and exciting approaches.
I would encourage all my colleagues across the north west to consider joining one of our Civil Service Local professional networks. Many are making real progress in worthwhile areas and can make a genuine difference to society. If you have a passion to help in a particular line of work, and the group doesn’t already exist, why not contact CS Local and ask to be put in touch with other like-minded colleagues to set up a new network?
As a career Civil Servant, I know we have highly skilled experts who can bring together workplace theories and practical knowledge to ensure the Civil Service is a great place to work, and an organisation that makes a real difference to citizens. I wholeheartedly support the aim of Civil Service transformation to bring down boundaries and promote cross-government working – in short, to connect people. And my experiences over the last three years mean I firmly believe Civil Service Local is a great way to identify and share best practice, and to truly make a difference.