WEST Somerset Council has been praised for the way it supports staff and encourages initiatives, in a report by Investors in People specialist assessor Richard Sloane.
Mr Sloane renewed the council’s Investor in People (IIP) status for a further three years, commenting on the authority’s ‘outstanding ethos that encourages and supports initiative at all levels’.
He also said the authority was ‘welcoming and friendly, yet disciplined’ and ‘continuous improvement is at the heart of this excellent council’.
Mr Sloane said: “The council is bucking the trend where there is more evidence of an increase in poor management behaviour across many sectors, often as a result of concentrated focus on targets to the exclusion of valuing staff.
“It was a privilege to review this council in terms of its culture and commitment to investing in people.”
Investors in People UK is a non-departmental public body sponsored by the Department for Education and Skills.
It works in partnership with organisations throughout the UK to improve their productivity and performance to help them realise their full potential.
Reviewers look at an organisation’s processes, conduct staff interviews, and monitor developments aimed to benefit staff, customers, and the organisation as a whole.
Council leader Councillor Keith Ross said: “We are delighted that IIP assessors and other external organisations recognised that throughout the changes of the last 18 months, the council has remained committed to investing in its staff.
“The council’s RECO training programme was praised for bringing staff together, while the advances under the council’s improvement plan, such as better leadership, management, and communication, closer cross-party working and an ongoing commitment to our staff’s continuing professional development, have been key to improving staff morale and providing a positive environment in which to work.
“The assessors also acknowledged that uniting staff in the new offices is bringing about further positive changes for the organisation itself, as well as for its customers.
“We are justifiably proud of our IIP standard being renewed and of what staff have achieved in the past 18 months.”
Staff said the council was compassionate and supportive in difficult domestic circumstances.
Because of this, staff went ‘the extra mile’ to support the council in times of need.
Workers felt appreciated and valued as individuals and as part of the team.
Acting head of paid service Adrian Dyer said: “Our staff are important to us and our customers.
“They have supported customers, senior staff, and members loyally and it is only right that they receive equal investment for their efforts.
“We have a hard-working team of professional people and we are delighted that the IIP assessors have acknowledged this.
“We are pleased to have retained the IIP standard and to have achieved such an excellent report.”