Sandie Hamilton, L&D Manager, Surrey County Council
nformed by conversations with residents, communities and partners across the country, Surrey County Council (SCC) have created a shared Community Vision for Surrey in 2030. Like many local authorities across the United Kingdom, the council is under increasing pressure from rising demand for services and support, continued financial restraints and the need to comply with government policy changes and new regulation. To deliver the vision with the resources available it was clear they needed to transform the organisation and its culture. One area of focus is making better use of technology: improving online self-serve options so people can access and use services at times and places that suit them. Delivering more with less, meant finding new ways to work smarter.
Learning & Development have a major role to play in contributing to the Council’s successful delivery of the community vision. Within this context Sandie Hamilton, Surrey County Council L&D Manager sponsored an initiative that would drive a new learning culture. They wanted to encourage learning as a priority and create personalised learning experiences. The aim was to ensure an optimum learning offering for the resources available and a robust platform that could grow and be accessed in the future to include new partners and third parties.
Up until recently, SCC were using an outdated on-premise LSO platform that was no longer supported by SAP, making it impossible to introduce any changes. The system relied heavily on an office admin team to keep it running and provided a poor external customer experience. Neither did it allow for card payments to be made, making a commercial offering difficult.
With classroom utilisation rates below 65% in some directorates, better utilisation of resources was critical. Any data that was pulled off the system required extensive use of spreadsheets and effort. This meant decisions about where and when to offer courses were made without basis of evidence. In addition, tracking regulatory training in areas with high levels of compliance such as social care was a huge manual activity and exposed the Council to the risk of not being able to demonstrate if they were meeting requirements.
Ultimately, the system was geared at pushing courses out to people rather than pulling them in for a positive and engaging learning experience. It was hardly aligned to supporting the new vision.