A Winning Collaboration: Springboard Consultancy & the Police Service

“People have taken responsibility for their brand and image, and learnt to set themselves challenging goals.”

The Springboard Consultancy are tremendously proud of the long and successful relationship they have established with Police services nationwide. We recently spoke to Yvonne Coolbear from Suffolk Constabulary, Amanda Rickwood from Cambridge Constabulary, Steve Rossiter from the Dorset Constabulary and Moana Walker from West Midlands Constabulary to find out more about their experiences of running our courses. Between them they run all of our core programmes – Springboard, the women’s personal and work development programme, Navigator, the men’s work and personal development programme, Spring Forward, for men and women on the way up, and Fresh Steps self development programme for older workers.

Equality and Opportunity

When asked why training was needed, the overwhelming response was ‘to address equality issues’. Yvonne elaborated for us:

“The primary driver for us was findings from the British Association of Women in Policing’s ‘Gender Agenda’. It showed that fewer women than men were applying for promotions and recommended the use of personal development programmes to address this issue.”

She continued “Equality is not just about women, it’s about offering the same service and opportunities to all: we concluded that to be a fair organisation we needed to offer the same opportunities to men too – hence why we pursued Navigator.”

Steve re-iterated this position, adding “it was sensible to offer the same opportunities to men in the force that the women had experienced for many years with Springboard. It was also deemed appropriate to offer programmes to increase motivation rather than promotion-driven training.”

The need for individual personal development was also a driving force for Cambridge, Amanda explained:

“We were a failing force back in 2003 and we identified a need to empower individuals within the organisation to help turn the force around. There had also been an under-investment in personal development and leadership which led us to research programmes for women and eventually managers.”

So, that was women, men and management, but what about older workers? We asked Yvonne to tell us why she identified a need for this group. “Age is an equality issue too. We found that our older workers needed more than Springboard and Navigator could offer them – they had different needs. Also, over 40% of our workforce is over 40 years old. Some seemed to be getting stuck in a rut so we wanted a development programme to re-invigorate and motivate them.”

A Solid Reputation

Why did each of these organisations choose The Springboard Consultancy to provide the training they needed? ‘Reputation’ was the unified response.

“The Springboard Consultancy have a proven track record and are well respected within the police service. Following the success of programmes elsewhere we had no hesitation in using the same provider for our women, men and older workers.”

Steve added that “we knew that the training was top quality, the product worked and the back-up was faultless.”

The Springboard Journey

Whilst some organisations like to use an external trainer, others prefer to licence their own trainer. Both Amanda and Moana used external trainers, and Amanda told us about the process:

“The Springboard Consultancy selected trainers to come in and get a feel for our organisation. We then posted adverts for self-nominating candidates to join the programme. The response we had was fantastic and subsequently courses have sold themselves by word-of-mouth. Since 2005 we have run two Springboard and Navigator programmes each year, in fact we were the first force in the country to launch Springboard and Navigator simultaneously. Spring Forward has been running since 2007 and is now a mixed gender programme.”

Moana added that “we will be starting our 14th Springboard Programme and our 4th Spring Forward this year. I believe that the success of the programmes is largely due to Jan’s delivery: she is genuinely passionate about them and her enthusiasm really resonates with the participants.”

Licensing an internal trainer is usually the most cost-effective choice for a police service. Both Steve and Yvonne came to our residential licensing courses at the training centre in Devon. This is what they had to say about the training courses and running subsequent programmes:

“The trainers course at Holwell was excellent” said Steve “The materials were comprehensive and I came away confident and enthusiastic. I’ve had a fantastic response to the Navigator programmes I’ve run with over 50 applicants for the first and over 40 for the second. It’s open to any men from the organisation and I’ve had a really good cross section from PCs to Inspectors, Staff Support and Transport.”

Yvonne became licensed to deliver Springboard in 2004 and will be running her 10th programme this September. She is now licensed to run Fresh Steps as well. We asked her about her experiences with the Fresh Steps programme specifically:

“We have a good mix of male and female staff attending. It’s a brilliant way for people to think about ‘what next?’ It can be quite scary for some officers who have been in the service for over 30 years. Fresh Steps gives them the opportunity to reflect on where they want to go next.”

The Results

Some constabularies have conducted surveys to review the results whilst others told us about the feedback they’ve received. The responses are inspiring: Steve told us that out of 90-100 men there have been NO negative responses, and Moana called it “life-changing”. Amanda added “the increased motivation, confidence, and changed mind-sets really contributed positively to turning round our force. In terms of Springboard and Navigator people reported improved listening skills, goal setting and assertiveness. It’s obvious that as a result of these programmes people feel more in control of their lives – both at home and at work.” She continued “an extra benefit is the networking. Different departments mixing during the course builds relationships which develop into an informal support structure.”

Yvonne had this to say about her experience: “It has been transformational for some people: going for promotion, changing jobs, and improving work-life balance. In terms of Navigator” she continued, “the results are very similar, and some participants have reported improved relationships at home.”

Fresh Steps has been really successful in Suffolk. Yvonne was keen to let us know about the outcomes:

“It’s fantastic; people have renewed their enthusiasm and motivation to stay on. They report feeling more in control and now recognise what they have to offer – seeing themselves as rich in experience rather than at the end of their careers. They learn to sell themselves better once they see themselves in a more positive light.”

We asked Steve about the impact of the Navigator programme in Dorset: “The participants are better able to deal with change and tackle life both personally and professionally. It’s truly inspirational to see it making a big difference to a lot of people in what is essentially a ‘macho’ organisation.”

Finally, Amanda told us about the results from Spring Forward, which they have run as a mixed gender programme since 2009:

“It has been empowering – managers lack confidence too. People have taken responsibility for their brand and image, and learnt to set themselves challenging goals. It’s proving really positive and popular.”

As you can see the results have been overwhelmingly positive for all four police services. Our training programmes really can transform men’s, women’s, and older worker’s experiences of both their professional and personal lives, regardless of the part they play within the organisation.



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