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Top Talent recommends Leeds rewards scheme

Cambridgeshire Time credit with the white silhouette of a windmill
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The digital economy has changed the way the world works and this has triggered a change in the style of leadership required in both the public and private sector.

Our Leadership Academy delivers a series of programmes uniquely designed to harness, develop and promote talent within the public sector. As with all the academy’s programmes, Top Talent invests in individuals, empowering them and the public sector to confidently take risks and challenge convention imaginatively in a volatile climate of constant change.

As part of the four-day programme, developed in partnership with training partner QA, the cohort work together creatively to devise dynamic solutions to real-life challenges set by a third-party. The programme concludes with a presentation at a Share National conference.

Yesterday’s leaders often assumed the role of hero: leading their troops with military precision from a position of command and control. This top-down approach may have passed for efficiency in an industrial age, digital leadership is about communication, collaboration and encouraging and supporting innovation.

Top Talent challenge and recommendation

Share Leeds played host to the most recent Top Talent graduates’ presentation: their response to a challenge set by Leeds City Council. Dylan Roberts, the council’s chief digital and information officer pledged to listen to their recommendations for a citizen reward scheme. “We will definitely be progressing it to our leadership team,” he said, adding that he would be interested in collaborating with other authorities on such a scheme.

The recommendation was based on research carried out by a 14-strong cohort of the Top Talent programme. Dave Elkington, head of customer and digital services at Newcastle-under-Lyme Borough Council, said participants had used ‘blue sky’ thinking, focus groups and research on private and public sector reward schemes to come to their conclusions. They found that:

  • 77% of Leeds councillors supported the idea of a rewards scheme
  • 66% of whom believed the council should run it in-house
  • The digital information team wanted to involve a third party

The city’s digital information team noted that existing schemes run by councils, including Belfast, Bradford and Cambridgeshire, all have a technology partner.

Dave Forshaw, head of design at Liverpool City Council, added that there was strong evidence of the benefits of rewards schemes, including those generated from volunteering in communities. These include:

  • development of community spirit
  • improved mental health and wellbeing for participants
  • money being retained within the local economy

How Leeds could reach staff left to their own devices

Service design and transformation is dependent both on culture change and increased digital literacy not just within communities but among local authority employees.

Today, three-quarters of the 5,000 employees of Leeds City Council who do not have user accounts are online with their own devices, meaning the council could provide them with information digitally. Council research found that:

  • 37% of these staff would use their own devices to connect to the council
  • 21% of these staff would not use their own devices to connect to the council
  • 42% were not sure or did not answer

Those surveyed said they would most interested in hearing about job and training opportunities, followed by updates about their service area and messages from their manager. Only 5% were interested in general updates from senior leaders, however.

Jo Miklo, head of digital efficiencies for Leeds City Council, said that of all 17,000 staff, 19% are not digitally literate. The council provides general training for employees in basic skills including buying online. Similarly, it has a project to raise the digital awareness of decision-makers: “Digital should be as much a part of a manager’s job as HR and finance,” she said.

All Leadership Academy graduates can join us in London on Tuesday 10 December for a festive alumni get together. Stay engaged, motivated and feeling a part of the Socitm ‘family’.

Watch a video about produced by the Cambridge Centre for Housing & Planning Research at the University of Cambridge on the Cambridgeshire time credits scheme: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HAMLSmbvDSg

Read more about what happened at Share Leeds in October 2019.

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