Reaching 15 months in my new role is a great opportunity to look back on what’s been achieved and what’s to come next. I’m very proud to work for WMP and to have the opportunity to create and lead a new function – People & Organisation Development – POD! – although I realise not everyone knows what POD is and what we’re here to do.
Ali Layne-Smith, Director of POD
POD was created in 2017 by pulling the parts of the organisation that focused on our people into one place. That includes Operational Learning, what was Corporate HR including the HR Advisors (who were known as LMAs – Line Manager Advisors), Occupational Health, Workforce Planning and Shared Services. POD also includes some departments that are new to the force such as Performance and Development, Diversity and Inclusion, Reward, Wellbeing, and Resourcing.
There are about 425 people in POD and our purpose is to deliver the People Deal and Leadership Promise the Chief created when he became Chief Constable. The People Deal is what attracted me to WMP and to this role. It’s really unusual for an organisation to set out such clear aspirations for what it will provide for its people, and what it expects in return. The more I heard about it, the more I wanted to be part of making it happen and being in this role, and creating POD, is the way I can do that. Despite what I hear when I’m out and about, the People Deal and Leadership Promise have not been forgotten or de-prioritised. It has taken time to get people with the right skills and experience in place to deliver the huge change the Chief has in mind for the people who work in the force. We are changing our culture – ‘the way we do things round here’ if you like – and that doesn’t happen overnight.
Already we’ve refreshed the People Deal and built the principles of the Leadership Promise into all the leadership and development programmes that will be launched over next six to 12 months. We are doing a lot to firm up the foundations so these become a reality for everyone. And if you can no longer do things how you used to do them, it doesn’t mean we’re “not doing the People Deal”; it probably means we’ve changed how it’s done so it is fair, transparent and accessible to everyone who needs it.
About half of the people in POD work in the Operational Learning team (reporting to Chief Inspector Phil Healey), providing training to student officers, police officers, PCSOs and specials. I also have a large team in Shared Services (reporting to Dean Sweet) who are our internal customer services team and can provide advice and help to anyone in the force about things that affect them – their pay, allowances, shift patterns, uniform, procurement, our new People policies, coaching, paying an invoice, submitting expenses, Health & Safety, the list goes on….
I mentioned earlier that not everyone knows what POD is, or what some of the department names mean, and that can be frustrating for my team members as they work hard to support the force in many ways. What’s more important is that everyone knows what POD does so you know where to go to if you need our help. The first place to go if you’re not sure is the “My Services Portal”, which I know many of you use already.
Over the last year POD has helped you if you’ve been through one of the new promotion processes, used the My Service portal to webchat, booked an appointment with Occupational Health, signed up to become a coach or mentor, reduced sickness absence in your area, seen restricted officers or police staff in your area matched to roles they can do, or contacted B-Well for confidential advice and support for yourself or a member of your team.
As you’ll see in my objectives, my focus, and therefore POD’s focus, continues to be on delivering the People Deal and Leadership Promise. I’ve also looked at my Exec colleagues’ objectives in the Ambition Plan to make sure everything we do this year will help the force achieve its goals. As I did last year, I’ve set out some of the deliverables you should see over the next 12 months. There’s quite a lot (and it doesn’t cover everything we’ll be doing!). All of my team members have seen this and know what I expect of them, on behalf of the force, by next April.
I’m really looking forward to delivering my objectives for this year and if nothing else stays with you from reading this blog, remember that you can get the support you need from POD through the “My Services” portal, and that the People Deal and Leadership Promise are alive and kicking!