At Learning Pool, we're focused on helping our customers come together to improve service delivery and save money.
We encourage a sharing ethos, meaning less duplication of efforts and not re-inventing the wheel, saving time and money for all involved.
We facilitate meetings and networking events, where delegates come together to share ideas and best practice and we're proud to have an active online community with over 13,000 members who share advice, expertise and resources.
Here are five benefits and five challenges we’ve identified from working with public sector organisations large and small over the years.
Here we share some stories from some of our customers about their collaborative working experiences, plus the benefits of collaborative working:
Leicestershire County Council, Leicester City Council and partners
Leicester City Council is leading on a county wide learning and development transformation project and has selected Learning Pool as a key partner to host their learning platform, develop content and define an e-learning strategy with them.
The first piece of content has already been created on the topic of Choice Based Lettings and it has generated significant interest from organisations nationally.
It is likely that this project will include a large number of organisations from the civil sector as well as Leicestershire Fire and Rescue service, the health service, the county council and all the Leicestershire district councils.
North Yorkshire County Council
Learning Pool provides the platform for the North Yorkshire Learning Zone which is a learning portal used by the county council, the six North Yorkshire districts, close neighbours Selby and City of York plus partners North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue services.
The group has elected to use Learning Zone to make available e-learning content on topics such as People Skills, Equality and Diversity, Procurement, e-Procurement and Customer Skills that are appropriate to all Partners.
Yorkshire and Humber Regulatory Services
Learning Pool is working in partnership with Barnsley council on a project to enable officers working in Regulatory Services across the Yorkshire and Humber region to communicate with each other and collaborate on best practice.
The new site is called YoHr Regs (Yorkshire and Humber Regulatory Services) Community Hub.
The aim of the Hub is to get Regulatory Services Officers, businesses and consumers communicating more, sharing good practice, working together and using the exciting opportunities presented by developments in social media and mobile working technology.
The portal we have built for YoHR integrates with a Learning Pool DLE so that officers using the portal can quickly link to e-learning courses and other training resources.
Over time the new site will be made available to businesses wishing to access information and documents and eventually to citizens.
In their own words, “This interactive space will help us to Communicate, Collaborate & Innovate!”
North West Employers Organisation (NWEO) & Association of Greater Manchester Authorities (AGMA)
This module was designed for members to raise awareness of the governance and vision for the Manchester City Region pilot.
There is extensive use of audio and video podcasts from each of the 10 Leaders of the AGMA councils and detailed information about the seven Commissions that have been formed.
The e-learning module is hosted by Learning Pool on the NWEO’s Member Development Gateway Dynamic Learning Environment (DLE).
To view this module email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0207 101 9383.
Merseyside Improvement and Efficiency Partnership
Learning Pool has provided a joint DLE for the six local authorities that make up the Partnership plus Mersey Travel and Mersey Fire and Rescue Service for about the last 18 months.
Our platform is being used to support the award winning Manager Coaching Programme right across the Merseyside sub-region.
Courses that we have helped the Partnership author have been Managing Hate Crime, Attendance Management and Equality and Diversity.
West Norfolk Partnership
The West Norfolk Partnership is a group of key public, private and voluntary sector organisations who work together to improve services and the quality of life in West Norfolk.
As well as local people, members of the partnership include representatives of the Borough and County Councils, the health and education services, housing providers and the police.
Learning Pool has worked with the Partnership to develop a suite of multimedia e-learning resources to address migration and social cohesion in West Norfolk, aimed at front line customer service staff.
The e-learning, hosted on a dedicated West Norfolk Partnership Dynamic Learning Environment (DLE), utilises video and storytelling to paint a picture of what life is like for migrant workers living and working in the community and provides information and ideas on how to promote social cohesion and inclusion.
Across seven modules learners are provided with practical information about migrant workers’ rights and entitlements, how to address language and cultural barriers and where to go to access more advice and guidance.
Martin Slater, Partnership Delivery Officer for the Local Strategic Partnership, explained: “The learning resource is designed to help those staff provide advice and guidance to migrant workers in a sensitive, respectful and effective way.”
Home Office and Blaenau Gwent
Learning Pool was delighted to be commissioned by Blaenau Gwent to design e-learning for a collaborative project between Blaenau Gwent Council and the Home Office.
The key aim of the e-learning is to explore the role of leadership in Crime Reduction Partnerships.
Our team of instructional designers, flash developers and graphic designers have created a bespoke 3D environment for learners to explore and engage with content around purpose, tasks and personal competence.
Highly visual and interactive, the e-learning provides an immersive learning experience for learners to explore and develop their knowledge and understanding of this topic.
Titled 'Safer Blaenau Gwent', the module looks at the competencies required of the members of the Community Safety Partnerships board.
Cardiff Council, Blaenau Gwent Council and Torfaen Council
The Community Consultation and Engagement e-learning module was developed as a key outcome from collaboration between Cardiff Council, Blaenau Gwent Council, Torfaen County Borough Council and local partner agencies.
The partners had jointly developed the Enhanced Consultation Strategies project and needed to publish an advisory learning tool to encourage a standard approach for those involved in consultation and engagement processes. E-learning provided an excellent way for the partners to distribute the findings of their research and to provide accessible advice and guidance on a specialist subject.
This comprehensive e-learning module, designed and developed by Learning Pool, provides learners with a rich resource featuring lots of examples and case studies from the research undertaken, providing guidance on community consultation and engagement from the decision to consult and engage through the design of the consultation, managing and analysing data and interpreting results.
Improvement Service for Scotland
We are delivering a new project on behalf of the Improvement Service for Scotland that will lead to a single change management programme for all partner organisations in order to support mobile and flexible working across Scottish local authorities.
The Improvement Service for Scotland was established in 2005 as a joint venture under a partnership of the Scottish Government, the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (COSLA) and the Society of Local Authority Chief Executives and Senior Managers (SOLACE).
The objective of the programme is to bring about the realisation of benefits and reduce the collective cost. The programme involves undertaking of pre-course engagement, development of appropriate e-learning content and production of post course evaluations.
The local authority partners we are working with as part of this collaborative project are the City of Edinburgh Council, Scottish Borders Council, West Lothian Council, Fife Council, Aberdeenshire Council, Argyll & Bute Council and Midlothian Council.
South Wales sub regional group
The Wales e-learning Board (WEB) was one of the first sub-regional learning and development networks that Learning Pool formed almost four years ago.
The group came about because the councils in South Wales were a little ahead of the game in terms of collaboration and as so many were Learning Pool subscribers they wanted to realise the benefits of sharing e-learning resources.
Those who are members of WEB include Blaenau Gwent CBC, Monmouthshire County Council, Newport City Council, Cardiff City Council, The Vale of Glamorgan, Bridgend CBC, Swansea Council, Pembrokeshire County Council.
In addition, Linc Cymru and Bron Afon housing associations have joined Learning Pool in the last two years and they have also joined WEB.
The group has developed its own shared DLE which it has used to help develop some key pieces of e-learning specifically for Wales including Finance for Non Finance Managers and a dual language version of Safeguarding Children which all the member authorities in Wales use.
Devon County Council and partners
For many years, Devon County Council has worked closely with Learning Pool and their partners to promote the benefits of shared learning between the council, wider health and social care community.
In 2008 Devon introduced Learning Pool’s Dynamic Learning Environment (DLE) to support the learning network to help enhance partnership working across the authority.
The DLE provided a cost effective solution which enabled Devon County Council to:
- Promote shared learning across the authority – offering a whole range of blended learning content with their partners, which were previously aimed at council employees only
- Provide partners such as Devon Children’s Trust with dedicated areas within the DLE to host their specific learning needs. This also opens up access to learning for childminders and foster parents.
- Set up tailored easy to use reporting which partners could access to meet their specific needs
This financial year (2010/11) sees Devon collaborating with partners in generating ideas to develop the DLE further, with a refreshed look and feel, developing additional online content and using online forums as a simple communications tool for sharing learning, best practice and networking.
Devon also has steps in place to widen the scope of use for its partners by opening it up to the wider partner community, for instance by involving private and voluntary social care providers and NHS workers involved in joint agency procedures e.g. safeguarding of adults.
Bill says “Devon County Council is a founding member of the Learning Pool community and a DLE user since 2008.
For the past five years partnership working has played an ever increasing part in social care. Learning Pool and their flexible approach has enabled us to use e-learning we have authored with our partners.
For instance when we wanted our colleagues in health professions to know about and to apply our eligibility criteria we wrote the Fare Access to Care module. Within a few months this had been accessed 500 times and the effect on practice reflected the better understanding gained from this knowledge.
We have done the same with other social care policies that need to be used by our partners.
And how do our foster parents, important partners working with us to provide care for looked after children, learn about child development when they work full time and have children to care for?
The modules developed by the Children's Trust mean that this information is only a few clicks away.
The complete Learning Pool package is a fantastic deal - the Learning Pool LMS, courses, the Authoring Tool and the opportunity to share between authorities is unique.
The services enable us to continually deliver cost effective learning that meets the needs of the authority and we are delighted to be part of Learning Pool.”
Worcestershire County Council and districts
Launched in 2009, the Worcestershire Hub is a partnership between Worcestershire County Council and the six local district councils. All seven councils are working closely together to explore ways of sharing services.
This work, known as the Worcestershire Enhanced Two Tier Programme (WETT), plays to the collective strengths of the respective councils without compromising local focus and choice.
This e-learning platform is one such collaboration whereby they can share learning and development good practice.
WETT’s original objectives were to:
- Use a collaborative system to roll out training initiatives to save them time and money
- Save money by rolling out Equalities and Diversity training across all seven councils
- To also have a system in place that effectively tracks and records progress on training initiatives right across the county
This collaborative approach is going strong with 82% of learners completing Equalities and Diversity e-learning training.
The partnership is now looking at how it can use the e-learning platform not only as a training resource but as an information platform for people to visit to get relevant resources.
London collaboration project
CELEB is a group of learning and development professionals from London’s public sector organisations seeking to exploit technology through collaboration in order to get the most out of the shared online resources provided by and through Learning Pool.
The group was created by Learning Pool about two years ago and now approximately 50 people from 28 London boroughs meet every four months to share ideas, network and seek out opportunities for partnership working.
CELEB’s vision is to develop and support the people who work in London’s public sector through learning and development, so that they will do the best possible job for London citizens and businesses.
Learning Pool’s role is to facilitate the network and ensure that the group:
- Shares ideas, developments and best practice
- Reduces individual expenditure through group purchasing opportunities
- Maximises use of their resources through joint content development and sharing of learning projects
- Minimises duplication of effort and cost through the use of jointly developed generic programmes that require minimal tailoring for each organisation
- Engages users by delivering dynamic and effective e-learning
- Speeds up the delivery of e-learning to our customers by developing common standards of quality practice across London
Group events so far have included high profile guest speakers from within the public sector who have covered topics of interest to the group such as Flexible and Remote Working and Information Governance and Protection. The events have also featured hands on practical sessions to help members develop their e-learning projects.
The group has already produced a shared model of induction that will significantly minimise costs through effective use of the resources available in the Learning Pool catalogue. Impressively, 94% of the group have recently fed back that they find CELEB useful.
Read how iESE is helping councils make efficiency savings while promoting collaborative learning.