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Tameside Metropolitan Borough Council: Workforce development case study

This case study outlines plans and initiatives set out and used by Tameside MBC to grow and develop a workforce that is adept at being responsive to the diverse needs of Tameside residents.

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The following case study outlines plans and initiatives set out and used by Tameside MBC to grow and develop a workforce that is adept at being responsive to the diverse needs of Tameside residents. With the help of the People Plan 2021-24; STRIVE; My Performance; the Workforce Survey; and targeted retention and recruitment strategies, Tameside MBC have robust resources to draw upon to confidently build and retain a workforce where wellbeing, development, and effective management are key.

The people plan 2021-24

The People Plan 2021-24 outlines how Tameside MBC seeks to better the offer it provides to residents through supporting, valuing, and developing its workforce, which helps to further deliver on the corporate plan ‘Our Place Our People Our Plan’. Through the corporate plan, Tameside MBC realises the needs of the populus over the lifespans. Further, how a collaborative workforce is an asset that needs to be harnessed for the plan to be actualised. Tameside MBC have integrated the Greater Manchester Reform Principles into the People Plan 2021-24 which support knowing, understanding, and being able to act upon specific neighbourhood level needs. Having a workforce that has collaboration at its heart helps to realise a joint vision of working for, and with residents. The People Plan Competency Framework (June 2021) helps to standardise and make clear the values, attributes, and behaviours expected from employees supported by the acronym STRIVE (see below).


STRIVE communicates the values and attributes that are embedded within the People Plan 2021-24, seen below. Additionally, a STRIVE Leadership and Management Development Programme, and Aspiring Leaders Programme (accredited by the Institute of Leadership and Management, ILM) have been adopted to take a fresh and revised approach to managing and supporting colleagues with strong emphasis upon empowerment and collaboration.

My performance

A new performance management framework ‘My Performance’ was launched (September 2023) to assist all colleagues and their line managers to have more attuned conversations surrounding support and development and promoting high performance in the role. A My Performance Framework guides managers on how to host conversations that makes colleagues feel heard, valued, and enriched, producing bespoke targets for development of the individual. A culture of listening and acting will help Tameside MBC to attract new talent and skills to the workforce, further strengthening their offer to residents.

Workforce survey example

As part of the commitment to be responsive to workforce needs whilst striving to improve services offered, a whole workforce survey was conducted in 2020. The survey received high response rates (55 per cent), despite being held during turbulent times of the covid-19 pandemic. Conducting the workforce survey alongside new ways of homeworking gave a unique opportunity to reflect on current and previous working practices, and how adaptations can be made to suit the needs of a new and evolving home/hybrid workforce. Results of the survey showed that most colleagues would prefer a mix of home and office working (1-2 days a week), with most colleagues reporting feeling more productive with reduced travel time and costs. build upon this feedback and continue hybrid working post COVID-19 restrictions, a further survey was conducted in 2021 by external workforce consultants Barker Stuart. The Barker Stuart survey assessed how council buildings and spaces could be utilised to accommodate hybrid working. As a result of both surveys, the Tameside Work Smart approach has been adopted which provides flexible working spaces for colleagues with the opportunity for collaborative and individual workspaces. A survey to gauge the success of a pilot conducted November 2021- March 2022 showed that the Work Smart approach is working well and gave insight into what improvements can be made to further the hybrid offer for colleagues. The actions identified and changes implemented from the whole workforce survey 2020 in hybrid working shows the impact of listening and evolving which can catalyse positive, long-lasting changes.

In September 2023 we conducted another workforce survey with 1337 employees completing it – we are currently analysing the results and digesting what they mean. We intend to use the findings to inform service specific action plans to address the issues raised. We will provide further information in January when we meet.

Appendix 1 contains a summary of the Employee Feedback from this recent survey.

Children’s services

We have faced challenges in the retention and recruitment of colleagues in social care services, more prominently, with Children’s Social Workers. Similar issues have been seen nationally, owing to the impact of COVID-19 and how remote, hybrid, and flexible working became more accessible, giving greater employment options outside of Tameside. Due to the number of vacancies, a reliance on agency staff to deliver essential Childrens services has been seen, which increases financial strain.

Action taken – Childrens workforce strategy and board

A detailed childrens workforce strategy has been developed and agreed with the improvement board. This outlines the commitment to address recruitment and retention in the service, along with ensuring
improvement in performance is achieved and a range of career pathways are developed and implemented. The Childrens Workforce Board was created in September 2023 and enables a focused approach to the workforce data and impact of interventions and strategies on recruitment, retention and workforce satisfaction levels.

Action taken - Childrens and adult services recruitment

A collaborative approach was adopted to support the onboarding of new social care colleagues with input from HR and Communications departments offering a faster and more streamlined approach to the recruitment of social care vacancies.

Recruitment Roadshows invite qualified social work staff to attend an open event, currently held once a month, where they can meet and chat with current social work colleagues and managers, giving insight into the dynamics and culture at Tameside MBC. At these events, candidates can be interviewed and offered positions on the day. Additionally, HR colleagues can assist in the processing of pre-employment checks immediately after the position is offered.

Recruitment Roadshows have improved the onboarding process for all parties by breaking down barriers; consequently, vacancies are
filled more quickly, and social care teams strengthened, giving our children and young people the best start in life, and enabling our adults to live well at home.

Adults recruitment results

At the first adult social care recruitment roadshow held in March 2023, more than 40 potential candidates attended, with 21 local people offered a permanent contract on the day. Further success from the March roadshow includes appointing three occupational therapists for three vacancies with six candidates applying. Roadshows between March-September have seen 25 social workers interviewed and appointed and 21 candidates for Assessor positions interviewed, from which six will be appointed. A clear illustration of the footfall and interest recruitment roadshows are generating leading to filling of vacancies which will enhance the offer provided to users of adult’s social care.

More Recruitment Roadshow information for adult services can be found at: Now is the right time to come and work in Tameside Adult Social Care Services.

LGC awards nomination

Recruitment Roadshows have been hugely successful and have been embedded as a business-as-usual approach to recruitment that has the potential to be rolled out across further departments within Tameside MBC showcasing innovation and commitment to
improvement in services. Such is the success of the Recruitment Roadshows that Tameside MBC has put forward an entry to the Local Government Chronicle Workforce Awards 2023 for this refreshed approach to recruitment. Shortlisting has been announced and Tameside have been named in the Best Innovation in Recruitment category. Results will be announced at an awards ceremony 08/11/2023. 

Further information about entry criteria and LGC assessment process: LGC Workforce 2023 - Shortlist 2023 (