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Header image for the current page Delivering a Learning and Development programme for BLMK CCG

Delivering a Learning and Development programme for BLMK CCG

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NHS Bedfordshire, Luton and Milton Keynes (BLMK) CCG wanted to ensure that a learning and development programme would continue to be available to staff to support them with the challenges brought about by working as part of a new organisation and the impact of the COVID-19 response.

By designing a flexible learning and development programme to meet the current and emerging needs of BLMK CCG, Arden & GEM has enabled a focus on team development and wellbeing which will support the organisation in planning and delivering integrated care for the local population.

The programme has been delivered through a mix of virtual workshops, team development sessions, coaching and staff engagement activities, which have been well attended and well received by participants.

The challenge

On 1 April 2021, Bedfordshire, Luton and Milton Keynes Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) came together to form a single CCG responsible for planning and buying healthcare for the local population.

Alongside planning for the merger, the CCG’s workforce had also spent the previous 12 months responding to the coronavirus pandemic. Due to the workplace and social distancing changes brought about by COVID-19, the majority of the CCG’s 400 strong staff group were working from home, meaning that learning and development activities were being virtually delivered.

The newly merged CCG wanted to ensure that an ongoing learning and development programme would continue to be available to staff to support them with the challenges brought about by working as part of a new organisation and the impact of the COVID-19 response.

Our approach

Arden & GEM’s Learning and Development team was tasked with designing a programme to support staff and bring newly formed teams together by focusing on the following three areas:

The programme would be delivered through a mix of virtual workshops, team development sessions, coaching and staff engagement activities, with the flexibility to adapt this mix in response to the CCG’s emerging needs.

Virtual workshops
Through a process of engaging with the CCG’s HR leadership and staff more widely, a list of workshop topics was produced and agreed, covering a range of areas from stress awareness and resilience to managing conflict within teams.

With significant experience of designing and delivering online sessions, and recontextualising face-to-face content for online courses, the CSU team put together a workshop programme across different days of the week and time slots to make the content as accessible and convenient to the wide audience as possible.

In a typical month, four workshops are run with an average of 40-50 staff members in attendance at each session.

This consistently high participation rate has been achieved by working in partnership with the HR team, to make staff aware of the workshop calendar, and making it as simple as possible for staff to register.

Team development
As newly merged teams came together, a focus on team development was essential. Arden & GEM’s Learning and Development Manager worked with teams, on request, to design bespoke sessions, using proven tools and techniques – such as personality profiling and problem-solving activities – to generate discussion and learning.

Regular team development sessions, both virtual and in-person have taken place to motivate individuals to work together, to develop their strengths and to identify and address any team weaknesses.

Individual coaching
In the early days of the response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the CSU was able to support CCG staff through dedicated Mental Health First Aid sessions but as the workforce began to adapt to the new situation and think ahead to the move to integrated care, there was a greater need for individual coaching sessions.

These were made available to all staff, regardless of band or background, and have been tailored to focus on specific personal challenges such as confidence building and negotiating complex environments, with around four employees accessing coaching at any one time.

Engaging staff in wellbeing
To ensure the focus on staff wellbeing remains a priority across the CCG, the Learning and Development team deliver a regular slot in the fortnightly all staff briefing. Slots include awareness raising, thoughts and reflections, as well as exercises to help staff consider their current mood. This is complemented by a regular feature in the internal newsletter.

"Thank you for your support. It has been a difficult time for staff, but your wellbeing sessions have been well-received. We know they have really helped staff. You have a lovely empathetic but professional style which makes staff feel comfortable."

Emma Richards, Head of People and Development at NHS Bedfordshire, Luton and Milton Keynes CCG

The outcomes

By designing a flexible learning and development programme to meet the current and emerging needs of BLMK CCG, Arden & GEM has enabled a focus on team development and wellbeing which will support the organisation in planning and delivering integrated care for the local population.

The virtual workshops series has a consistently high attendance rate, with positive feedback received from participants.

"On behalf of the CCG and, more importantly personally, thank you for delivering this series of workshops. I have really enjoyed your enthusiastic, thought provoking style and look forward to working with you in future."

Dr Sarah Whiteman, GP and Medical Director at NHS Bedfordshire, Luton and Milton Keynes CCG

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