Health & Safety Executive (HSE)

Worker Involvement Training

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) awarded a specialist contract to Premier Partnership in 2010 following an extensive tendering process. This £2 million pound contract was to provide soft skills and specialist training to 2,400 learners from the Private Sector of all levels i.e. team members, line managers, senior managers, HR Business Partners, Health and Safety specialists.

Why we were Needed

The requirement followed the results of a white paper produced by the HSE which identified that “soft skills” were fundamental to obtaining worker engagement. The following key messages are an extract from the white paper:

The case studies presented here show that the creation, support and sustenance of a ‘dialogue culture’ is the most important factor in an organisation’s ability to develop and deploy the soft skills needed for effective employee involvement in health and safety. Such a culture is most likely to be found in ‘pluralist, high involvement’ organisations, although elements of such a culture are present in other settings, including some unexpected ones. Dialogue cultures consist of several elements, which together allow organisation’s to progress on the journey to embedded and effective employee involvement. These elements are:

  • < Awareness of critical issues in the organisation and conduct of work. This awareness is promoted through the organisation’s leadership defining these issues, setting agendas, and then ensuring that these agendas are shared throughout the management structure and the workforce.
  • The modeling and demonstrating of appropriate behaviours by the organisation’s leadership, including management, trade union representatives and employee representatives.
  • The organisation of work around problem-solving and task participation by all employees. The deployment of the practical, ‘grass roots’ knowledge of employees about the detailed conduct of work processes is a vital means of highlighting and addressing potential health and safety issues. Employees have to be empowered to identify these issues, consider solutions and share them with colleagues and superiors. Their voices have to be heard when they do so. Related to this a valuing of employees’ capacity to operate effectively through a sharing of agendas, an expectation that they will adopt these, motivating employees and holding them responsible for pursuing agendas, and valuing their ‘hard-wired’ knowledge of work processes.
  • An openness to attitudinal progression. These are the key factors which promote the development and deployment of the soft skills which support employee involvement in health and safety. The skills which most effectively support and promote employee involvement in health and safety can be summarised as:
    • Leadership skills
    • Team working skills
    • Conceptual and problem-solving skills

These skills are not necessarily fostered through formal training or learning programmes, and other interventions are equally, if not more, important. Soft skills development is much more commonly fostered through the creation of a ‘dialogue culture’, as outlined above, and through informal, embedded organisational activities such as team-working and trade union representation. Organisations at different stages of the journey towards the creation of a dialogue culture will deploy different types and levels of intervention to suit their own particular context and requirements.

What we Provided

On behalf of the HSE Premier Partnership designed, developed and delivered a series of soft skills workshops which addressed the key areas of

  • Engagement
  • Communication
  • Problem Solving and Decision Making
  • Leadership
  • Performance Management
  • Legal and Technical competence

These workshops were delivered over a twelve month period throughout the United Kingdom and were accredited learning events which resulted in an achievement rate of 99%.

We believe that this specific case study demonstrates our capability and experience of working across the Private and Public Sector with an organisation similar to Ofgem i.e. (HSE), which is responsible for engaging with all Private Sector Businesses in an advisory and legislative capacity.

What was the outcome

The following testimonial demonstrates our success.

"Following an intensive tendering exercise, Premier Partnership were successful in their bid to deliver a series of high profile Soft Skills, training interventions for the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) as part of the “Safe and Sound at Work – do your bit” initiative. Premier Partnership worked with HSE to both design, recruit delegates to and deliver external workshop based programs on worker involvement and consultation to businesses across Great Britain.

The first course “Worker Involvement for Representatives of Employee Safety” targeted hard to reach, small to medium sized, non-unionised organisations in the construction, manufacturing, motor vehicle repair and transport sectors. Premier Partnership exceeded the target set by HSE, successfully recruiting and delivering high quality courses to over 2400 learners in less than 12 months.

The second course compromised “Joint training for safety representatives and their managers” workshops. Again Premier Partnership exceeded the original target of delivering to 80 organisations by reaching 120 and delivering 206 events nationwide. Both courses required a focus on “soft” or “people skills” development as well as technical and legal aspects.

Training initiatives have evaluated extremely well so far with positive unsolicited testimonials from participating organisations. The results of a full, independent evaluation of the impact of the initiatives by the Institute of Employment Studies (IES) will be published early 2012.

In summary, Premier Partnership fully delivered the HSE contract on time, within budget and in addition exceeded the measures set for quality of delivery. As an organisation they were professional, committed and flexible in their approach at each stage (design, recruitment to delivery) and this was both crucial and appreciated given the pressure they were under to deliver.

I would have no hesitation in recommending them to other organisations requiring technical or people skills development type training."

Paul Cook
Health and Safety Executive
Lead Policy Adviser for the Workforce and Leadership Team

As an organisation they were professional, committed and flexible in their approach at each stage (design, recruitment to delivery) and this was both crucial and appreciated given the pressure they were under to deliver. Paul Cook
Health and Safety Executive
Lead Policy Adviser for the Workforce and Leadership Team