In 2009 we started to work with colleagues from across the Council to give them the confidence to challenge inefficient ways of working. This included giving them the skills to make changes when they were required.
We used the ideas from a way of working called ‘Lean Thinking’. This meant that we would do more of the things that customers valued and we would stop doing things that were viewed as wasteful.
Nearly 1000 colleagues from the Council have now completed the programme and savings in excess of £8 million have been achieved.
Our traditional way of improving processes was not working.
We looked at the situation and determined that the problem was being caused by how we carried out the improvement process. Change was being imposed on colleagues rather than being driven by them.
Colleagues were genuinely enthusiastic for change, but when it came to implementation, recommendations were not taken forward due to lack of support or lack of skill.
We looked at ‘Lean’ and we simplified it, we added messages relating to staff empowerment and we developed an internal training course.
When colleagues complete the training, which lasts for a maximum of three hours, they receive a certificate showing that they have reached ‘Level 1′ of Lean at Calderdale.
When they subsequently present evidence showing how they have made an improvement, they receive a certificate showing that they have received ‘Level 2′ of Lean at Calderdale.
‘Level 2′ certificates are only valid for 1 year, more improvements are required for a colleague to keep their ‘Level 2′. This enforces a message of continuous improvement.