The Local Authority Challenge offers a unique learning opportunity across 7 different regions in England. A key objective for the event is to develop new skills, however, the challenge is also a competition. Emily Marsh (Senior Project Manager at Concertus Design & Property Consultants) took part in this year’s East of England Local Authority Challenge, which was held at the Granta Centre in Cambridge. Her team was made up of a collaboration between many different councils and districts:
- Kate Innes, Head of HR (Vertas Group Ltd)
- Gary Crockett, Health Liaison Manager (East Suffolk Council)
- Matt Woor, Communications Officer (Suffolk County Council)
- Sam Lake, Customer Operations (Babergh Mid Suffolk District Council)
- Tim Jennings, Contract & Service Development Manager (Suffolk County Council)
The innovative challenge required the participants to take on the role of the senior management team for 1 of 4 fictional local authorities, each under the leadership of a different political party. Teams were placed in a situation which was designed to be as realistic as possible, providing them with an insight into what executive management in a local authority truly involves. Assessors from a variety of backgrounds (including private, public and third sectors) judged the teams’ performances based on their management skills and ability to deliver a new strategy for the council.
Emily and her team had a demanding, but also rewarding, day. In addition to the valuable new skills they learnt, Emily’s team were delighted that Kate Innes won the ‘Best Chief Executive Officer’ award. When asked about the event, Kate commented:
“Our team formed strong relationships very quickly which demonstrates our ability to form partnerships across a variety of companies with ease. Although the day itself was stressful at times, we had a fantastic time as a united team. Having reflected on the challenge, I have realised the skills we learnt and developed will be able to support us in our work for many years to come.”
Although it was challenging for Emily to work in a team with no historic relationships, she is proud of the relationships which were formed within a stressful environment. Her new connections made the process enjoyable and she is looking forward to liaising with them in the future. Emily thought the training day was very interesting and she has been able to apply the skills she learnt to the stakeholder engagement side of her role already.