London Bridge Job Centre Plus evolution began in 2012 when it was selected to be a showcase office of the future. The principle of the change was to pave the way for DWP’s “Digital by Default” strategy, build capability of customers and highlight what the future holds for Job Centre Plus services. In the recent People Survey, this site scored 81% for Leading and Managing change, impressive when you consider the change programme that has been implemented.
A few members of the London Bridge team discuss what occurred to make the changes so successful.
"My first thoughts when I found out that London Bridge JCP was allocated to be a Jobcentre of the Future was, initially, what does this mean for me?
It was announced to staff in a full office meeting and described in a positive manner which did make us feel excited about the change. Strong and inclusive leadership made the difference, Liz Malfredi who led from the start demonstrated positivity, and always believed in her staff achieving.
This attitude was felt by staff who respect her, as she listens, and is open to taking risks. She is very involved, giving you time, making it personal and visual and makes you feel worthy of your hard work, rewarding you verbally. We got the chance to influence the changes. There was an opportunity to join a working party to represent staff’s views and suggestions.
Personally I know that the future is internet, and I knew I needed some up-skilling as I was not familiar with twitter. I felt supported by Digital champions who were identified and designed a workshop to deliver to all staff which was followed up with one to one tuition. It was very important that the contractors understood that we deliver a public service. We were continuously informed about structural changes as they took place around us causing no disruption to our business.
I felt proud, engaged and motivated throughout the process. During the changes all grades pulled together as one team covering job roles etc to continue to meet our service delivery. This is demonstrated when ‘tour guides’ greet visitors and interact with staff. Visitors felt the warm atmosphere and energy that we have created amongst staff.
In terms of successfully managing change I think they key is to be transparent and take the bottom up approach, valuing the direct operational staff whom it has the most impact on. Listen to all views, opinions and suggestions, take action and feedback outcomes. Clear communications, open discussions, make it personal
We are very proud to showcase our office, staff engagement and many awards for success recognition to various visitors – this is a testament to our successfully delivered changes"
Name: Simon Arundel
Job Role: Employment Support Allowance/Income Support Performance Team Leader
What were your initial feelings when you found out that London Bridge JCP was allocated as Jobcentre of the Future?
Initially when we were told we were going to be ‘Office of The Future’ we had no idea what this would entail as there was no further information passed down , so my feelings at that point were ‘????’!
How did your management team get you involved in shaping this change?
Initially the news was given during an all office meeting, we then had an ‘Away Day’ for the office to discuss/ decide on what ‘Office of The Future’ was for us and how we were going top take this forward.
Following the ‘Away Day’ there was a ‘Lock In’ for 2 days that included people at SEO level and above. We also had an office focus group (of which I was part) to liaise with our respective teams to pass information on and to discuss/ raise concerns.
What has your journey been throughout this change?
As part of the focus group, I was aware of most of the changes that were being discussed and implemented. My personal job roll did not require as much training as other members of staff due to being in a non-customer facing roll when OoTF was being implemented however there were some staff in the office who did require up-skilling for the digital services.
The main problem with going though this process was the amount of visitors disrupting our day-to-day until this process was managed correctly and then it became second nature to have visitors from Band Bs to MPs!
How were these changes managed?
By explaining in detail what was going on and including staff in the decisions.
How would you describe this team/site?
Even though there has been a lot of disruption over the past year, the office has still managed to function as a team and still hitting targets which proves that this is an office to be reckoned with!
How do you work together as a team?
Even though we are in separate teams we doe cover for/ help others as we are ONE team
What are you most proud of delivering?
Over the past year it would be OoTF as what we have achieved in our office is now being taken nationally
How would you describe the leadership style in this site?
Open and confident, willing to listen to others. Usual communications are via Meetings, emails and one to one where appropriate. Information that affects staff on a national level is usually available on the intranet.
Where and how are decisions made?
Some decisions are unfortunately cascaded from above local level and therefore we would have no input in to these decisions, however there will always be decisions where I or the team can influence the outcome.
If you could take one lesson learnt and pass it on to other teams - what would it be?
Good communication between all staff from band B to SEO within the office to ensure that ALL staff are included to make the changes/ transitions run smooth.
What skills do you think are needed to effectively lead and manage change?
Mutual trust between the team/ office, communication, listening, making others feel part of the process & transparency