The brief

North Wales Fire and Rescue Service (the Service) implemented a new organisational structure on 1st April 2022, which required the Service to transition from its centralised arrangement to one designed around its three area teams of Central, West and East. The client therefore required independent Governance training and support for its senior leadership team (SLT), via an on-site one-day workshop, delivered by C.Co.

The specific aim of the workshop was to facilitate the development and design of an appropriate Governance Framework by the client’s SLT, which would support the new corporate structure. The workshop took place in April 2022 and it provided the techniques and the confidence for the client to continue to conversations and to develop a structure to support the client’s developing governance framework.

The client was so delighted with the training day and the actions that the workshop created, that it purchased two additional days’ workshop training, which took place in October 2022. These workshops were timed to take account of the implementation of the governance framework by collaborating with the client’s middle managers. This facilitated staff engagement and C.Co worked with middle managers to develop an appropriate Assurance and Empowerment for middle managers as part of the continued implementation of the new governance framework.

North Wales Fire and Rescue Service provides fire protection and prevention services to protect an estimated population of 678,461 people over an area of 2,400 square miles as well as hundreds of thousands of tourists and visitors to North Wales each year. There are around 317,051 domestic properties and 24,484 non-domestic properties in North Wales that fall under the organisation’s protection. The Service employs almost 1,000 staff in operational and support roles.

The approach

The client required all the first training workshop to be prepared and delivered at relatively short notice as the new organisational structure had been implemented a few days before the planned workshop, the venue and meeting rooms had been booked and invitations sent to the senior management team.

For the first workshop, C.Co responded at pace to the client’s requirements and assigned appropriately experienced and qualified resources. A written proposal was prepared and delivered within two business days of interest expressed and just one week before the planned event. Following the success of the first workshop, the service contacted C.Co four months later to discuss the option to delivery requirement for Assurance and Empowerment training for its middle managers. Following discussions with the client, the requirement was for two sessions, held very close to each other, in October 2022 in order to capture all its managers the opportunity to work with colleagues to discuss these issues and to develop actions for the service.

On both occasions, once appointed as the successful provider, C.Co mobilised efficiently to develop a structured framework for the training workshops, tailored for the client. The approach to both included an effective balance of presentations, theory and practice via facilitated group work.

The main aim of the workshop was to design the Governance Framework for the Service. C. Co colleagues also intended for the participants to achieve the following:

  • Develop an understanding of the respective theories underpinning good governance, effective assurance and appropriate empowerment.
  • Understand the current governance and assurance frameworks, including its strengths and areas for development
  • Explore the responses to the recent Good Governance questionnaires in advance of the first workshop.
  • Introduce governance and assurance best practice.
  • Consider the roles, responsibilities and accountabilities of leadership, risk and evidence-based decision making, and leading by example, to support the new corporate structure and newly developed governance framework.
  • Agree the basis for a new governance and assurance culture within the Service to support the new corporate structure, including roles and responsibilities
  • Highlight the impact of good and bad governance with some real-life case studies.

The first workshop required some pre-preparation by attendees, in order to raise governance awareness in advance of the session, and to support better outcomes on the day. To achieve this, C.Co developed, issued, and analysed on return, a Governance Questionnaire from all participants, based on CIPFA guidance.

The attendee preparation work was based on the “Good Governance Framework” by the Chartered Institute of Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA). All attendees completed the questionnaire on time allowing C.Co to summarise the results the day before the workshop, so that they could be reported to SLT and considered by the team when developing the Governance framework.

The C.Co Team was well placed to deliver this training and support, as we have significant experience in and knowledge of Governance, Risk Management and Assurance. In addition, we have specific expertise in:

  • Delivering training and supporting groups to transform service delivery, organisational governance and compliance
  • Undertaking comprehensive analyses of current processes, assessing corporate risks and conducting options appraisals
  • Reviewing reporting arrangements and designing appropriate structures for discussion with senior stakeholders
  • Arranging effective stakeholder consultation exercises to design and agree future structures and processes for a range of organisations
  • Using our experience and sector knowledge to inform best practice design implementation.

The outcome

The client was highly motivated in all of the workshop sessions and responded constructively during the group sessions. The outcome was the ability to develop a Governance framework, based on the client’s needs, including the new corporate structure and action plans for the Service. The ability to achieve implementation will place the client in a strong position to deliver the following benefits for itself, its staff and its customers:

  • Appropriate empowerment, accountability and control.
  • Appropriate links to the Service’s strategies and plans.
  • Facilitate decision-making at the right level, at the right time and for the right reasons.
  • Encourage positive behaviours.
  • Improves overall and regulatory compliance.
  • Acts as a direct link to the Service’s constitution, audit, risk, finance and contract procedure rules.

The balance of the three workshops with theory and practice was highly effective and appreciated by the client. In addition, the ability to access information provided in the questionnaire responses allowed C.Co to tailor the session appropriately. The client’s SLT was very engaged, motivated and responsive in the group sessions.

By way of further support, C.Co colleagues met with the key client leads two days after the first workshop to discuss their observations and help the client to consider the next steps. The client plans to use the framework as a basis for the development of the corporate governance framework and the Action Plan to support the implementation of key supporting activities, processes and documentation.

Contact our team of professionals to see how we can work with you to help you with a governance workshop.

“I wanted to express my thanks for your work yesterday, it was really well structured and your facilitation excellent. The feedback was very positive and a few of us stayed on for an hour reflecting on the day. Most importantly I think we finished the day with agreement of where we are, consensus on where we need to get to and also awareness of our next steps.”

Helen MacArthur, Prif Swyddog Tân Cynorthwyol (Cyllid ac Adnoddau) / Assistant Chief Fire Officer (Finance and Resources)