Surrey County Council: A councillor's view

While Chief Executives see the need for transformation, how to achieve that can be less clear. The Innovation Mandate is a key part of iESE's strategy for helping local authorities map out their transformation. The Innovation Mandate can be used prior to transformation, with what is learnt helping set the parameters for subsequent activity, or it can be used as a sense check on progress and collective understanding during transformation. It can also help to get the change agenda approved by elected council members.

iESE ran an Innovation Mandate workshop for Surrey County Council. Richard Walsh, a Surrey County Councillor, attended the workshop and found it beneficial for himself and other councillors taking part.

Cllr Walsh said he found the way the workshop was presented and the tasks that got the participants thinking "outside of the box" were stimulating and helped the councillors understand that the organisation needed to change. The workshop helped introduce the councillors to the transformation process to be taken forward by the Council. "The meeting was very effective in the way it was put together and that caught councillors' engagement, attention and understanding. At the end the councillors who attended felt the change programme was going to achieve and work," Cllr Walsh explained. "What the meeting did, as far as Surrey County Councillors were concerned, is start the transformation project off." 

The transformation process is now underway, beginning with a reorganisation of staff and processes. The council has reduced the number of ranks of staff so no employee now has more than six levels of management above them. "We are getting the organisation into the right place to do the transformation and make it all happen," Cllr Walsh explains.  

From his point of view, Cllr Walsh said the iESE Innovation Mandate workshop gave him the confidence to say transformation was the way forward and helped him become an advocate for change within the organisation. He also feels that, for the councillors as a whole, having an outside body verify that it was on the right track was comforting. "The officers really need to have the councillors onboard with transformation. I would highly recommend iESE and found the process very helpful," he added.   

Read more about our Innovation Madate by clicking here