News and Developments

Unique Public Service Training Partnership Wins National Award


The University of Wales Trinity Saint David (UWTSD), Torfaen County Borough Council and IF Development have won a national award for their unique collaborative training partnership to deliver excellence in public sector services.

The partners, led by the Wales Institute for Work-based Learning at UWTSD, secured the Best Public Sector Programme Bronze Award at the recent Training Journal (TJ) Awards 2013 in The Brewery, London. A total of 560 people attended the awards ceremony, from 120 different organisations. This partnership, together with the Carmarthen-based Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service, were the only two Welsh organisations to receive an award.

The Torfaen Leadership in Public Services Programme commenced with a Postgraduate Certificate, launched in 2010. It was designed and developed by the University and Torfaen County Borough Council, delivered by consultancy IF Development and accredited through UWTSD’s innovative and award-winning Professional Practice Framework (PPF).

On completion of the Postgraduate Certificate learners can proceed onto a Postgraduate Diploma or Masters’ award. The qualification has, to-date, involved several public sector organisations within the Torfaen Local Service Board area. These include staff and councillors from Torfaen County Borough Council, and employees from Gwent Police, Aneurin Bevan Health Board, the Voluntary Sector and the Welsh Government. Its aim is to assist senior managers and elected members in public sector organisations to develop a values-based approach to leadership, enabling participants to build a personal leadership profile to underpin the way they work, engage with a range of stakeholders and build upon the skills that are essential for managing the process of service design and delivery.

A total of 19 delegates completed the full Postgraduate Certificate in Leadership in Public Service, with two progressing to achieve a Postgraduate Diploma, and 14 achieving a full MA qualification. This included the first two Councillors to obtain formal masters qualification in Leadership in Wales.

The programme is delivered using innovative methods which facilitate learning and take note of the differing needs of individual learners. It is underpinned by the University’s Professional Practice Framework which provides flexible, accessible and high-quality learning opportunities to groups of staff in their workplace. It is a framework to facilitate accrediting and accumulating higher level learning in the workplace and focuses on learners’ professional and personal staff development needs.

Dr Liz Wilson, Associate Professor of Work-based Learning at UWTSD, said “We are very proud to receive this award. The University’s Professional Practice Framework, which has underpinned this provision, has been a conduit through which public sector organisations have been able to find innovative approaches to develop excellent citizen-centred public service delivery.”

This innovative approach to leadership development was developed by Christina Harrhy, Chief Officer for Neighbourhood Services at Torfaen County Borough Council.

Ms Harrhy said “I am absolutely delighted with the award. It's a reflection of what a true partnership can achieve. Through our private and public partnership we have developed leaders for the future, developed their organisations and made a real difference to the services delivered to our citizens. A fantastic achievement!"

Chief Inspector Matthew Williams from Gwent Police, a delegate on the first programme, commented “the whole experience for me has been life-changing. The way in which the course delivered really captured our interests and imagination, every second was a thoroughly enjoyable learning experience. The power of work-based learning is incredible, being able to learn about leadership and management theory and practice and then apply, reflect and learn day to day while doing your job makes such a visible difference”.

The next group of learners for this innovative programme will be selected in early 2014.

Photo – Left to right

Professor Mike Phillips (Pro Vice Chancellor – Research, Innovation, Enterprise and Commercialisation), Dr Elsie Reynolds (Senior Lecturer – Work-based Learning), Dr Liz Wilson (Associate Professor – Work-based Learning), Ms Christina Harrhy (Chief Officer for Neighbourhood Services Torfaen County Borough Council), Chief Inspector Matthew Williams (Gwent Police), Mr Andrew Edwards (Work-based Learning Fellow – UWTSD).

Note to Editor

  • The University of Wales Trinity Saint David was established in 2010 through the merger of the University of Wales Lampeter and Trinity University College, Carmarthen. On 1 August 2013 the Swansea Metropolitan University merged with the University.
  • The University’s Royal Charter 1828 is the oldest in Wales, and it is third behind Oxford and Cambridge in Wales and England. HRH Prince of Wales is the Patron of the University.
  • On 1 August, 2013 Coleg Sir Gâr merged with the University of Wales Trinity Saint David Group, however they will keep their own brand. Coleg Ceredigion will merge with the Group in January 2014.