Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman

Commended: Coursera Impact Award for Powering Internal Mobility

The Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman (PHSO) aligned its Learning at Work Week to support personal and career development, a key focus of its People and Culture Programme, and promote the opportunities available to colleagues across the organisation.  

A key objective for the week was to help colleagues to develop their understanding, knowledge and engagement in lifelong learning. PHSO also hoped to help colleagues to appreciate the benefits of lifelong learning and understand the available initiatives for internal mobility. These initiatives include coaching frameworks, career pathways, competency frameworks, individual career plans and more. 

The activities on offer, including articles and workshops, were kept short in recognition of the demand on colleagues’ time. The activities aimed to raise awareness of different departments at PHSO and the potential opportunities across the organisation. All activities were promoted well before the week to encourage everyone to get involved.  

The week started with an introductory session and overview of PHSO’s ‘Activate your Career Development Programme’ which has career development toolkits, job shadowing opportunities and interview preparation. Colleagues could attend two career briefings to hear from leaders in Senior Casework and Learning and Development and find out what it’s like to work in these areas. Articles on career development were also published through the week.   

Colleagues could read about PHSO’s job shadowing programme and how to get involved. Another article covered PHSO’s bitesize workshops on key elements to career progression, such as how to identify transferable skills and increase confidence. A final article encouraged staff to explore their personal development plans with managers. 

The week finished with a ‘Superhero skills’ workshop, where colleagues focused on their individual superpowers and how these strengths could support them with career development and with the organisation’s goals.   

All sessions were delivered remotely – allowing colleagues to join from wherever they were working; and all written materials were provided in accessible formats to be inclusive. PHSO has large numbers of both new and long-serving staff members, so the team ensured the week had variety depending on people’s experience and made sure that support for career development was highlighted for all job roles.   

The week was promoted through the L&D newsletter to all colleagues, the fortnightly corporate news cascade to managers, and banners with links to courses on the LMS system. A special LAW Week page was set up on the LMS system where colleagues could find all the information and sign up prior to the week. The article at the start of the week reminded colleagues of what was happening and encouraged participation. A concluding article provided a round-up of the week and further promoted the importance of engaging in lifelong learning and completing individual personal development plans.  

Over 300 colleagues took part in the week and 48 people signed up for job shadowing. Colleagues valued the opportunity to learn and ask questions of leaders across the organisation, explore their own skill sets, and find out about career development and the resources to support this. PHSO’s Learning at Work Week has played a major part in supporting the values and culture of learning. The important focus on career development and lifelong learning directly supports other essential areas for the organisation, including staff retention, internal promotion and succession planning. This will help PHSO grow and retain its people.