Eastbourne Borough Council – Locality Working

The challenge

Eastbourne were introducing a new operating model involving radical reorganisation of how local services would be delivered. This included the formation of a mobile locality team that would act as the eyes and ears of the council and build strong relationships with the local community. Ignite supported the council through the challenges faced in the creation of the team, including:

  • There was resistance from managers and staff to the new team taking on a wide range of locality-based tasks previously entrusted to more specialist teams
  • A new team culture was required that was distinct from the narrow, enforcement focus of existing mobile teams
  • The organisation had little experience of launching new teams and services
  • Some stakeholder groups were hostile to the council and a campaign was started to retain old ways of working
  • The new team would need to build visibility and relationships with busy partner agencies (e.g. the police) and a wider community that lacked engagement.

The result

Ignite worked with the council to design, mobilise and launch the team. As a result:

  • The Neighbourhood First brand and team culture was created, giving the team a distinctive ‘look and feel’ and helping to establish an immediate visible presence and impact
  • A highly effective responsible dog ownership campaign was launched which used local anger about dog fouling to mobilise and empower local communities to become part of the solution, using education and intervention techniques to make a difference
  • For the first time, community groups had a regular, consistent council presence at their meetings, resulting in a transformation of the council’s relationship with those groups
  • The team felt motivated, trusted and empowered and delivered key early wins, such as the repair of a dangerous wall near a school before the end of the school day on which it was reported and the clean up of notorious litter hotspots.

What made it successful

  • Close collaboration with staff and partners during design, for example workshops with staff, police and highways to agree common zones
  • Developing a mobilisation plan and providing coaching and profiling tools to build the new manager’s capability to understand the personalities and maximise the skills of the team, whilst resolving disagreements and conflict
  • Delivering engaging workshops, using insight from high performing teams elsewhere, to help the team to define their vision, target culture and charter and translate it into visible action, such as design of a practical, friendly uniform
  • Inspiring a culture of aspiration, instilling a results-focus that enabled the team to set bold targets and surpass expectations, such as clearing a long-standing inspections backlog, inherited from another team, in one week
  • Having a clear focus on impact of change at launch, joining the team in early actions to raise profile and deliver wins, such as a visible presence at major events and in ‘hotspot’ areas of the town.