Following a discussion on HASNET (Universities Safety and Health Association forum) where a large number of Universities expressed interest in preferred management training providers / content being agreed, an exercise was undertaken to select preferred suppliers.
The level and detail of leadership training was debated and a number of levels of training were agreed.
Work is still underway on developing a training course for the level of senior managers below the senior leadership team level, however the recommended providers for the most senior level training have been identified.
Colleagues were asked to recommend individuals / organisations who could provide high level senior leadership training and all were approached and asked to provide details of how they would deliver the training.
Three organisations were shortlisted and asked to attend a selection panel in London. The organisations were Eversheds Sutherland, Pinsent Masons and Human Applications.
It became clear quickly that there were actually two types of training approaches needed for training at this level, depending on the culture of the institution and so two providers were ultimately selected.
The two providers selected were Eversheds Sutherland and Human Applications. These organisations have similar, but slightly different offers.
Both courses focus on the responsibility and accountability for Health and Safety at a senior level, both talk about assurance and assurance systems, both reference the USHA/UCEA leadership guidance and both talk about the actions required by leaders.
Both sessions are customised to the institution’s needs and last 2½ -3 hours. Both allow senior leaders to challenge and explore issues rather than be lectured.
Eversheds Sutherland have huge sector experience and bring with them direct experience of court cases in our sector and can realistically talk about what is needed and how things are viewed. The course will explore the responsibilities of senior leaders in the light of the experience of those in the sector who have been unfortunate enough to suffer serious incidents. The focus then turns to action planning for senior leaders.
Human Applications have slightly less sector experience, but have worked successfully with a range of large institutions nationally and internationally. Human Applications bring an evidence-based approach and work with the leadership team to develop specific leadership actions that have been proven to be effective in changing and driving culture both inside and beyond the HE sector.
Whilst the starting point of the Human Applications course is the same as the course delivered by Eversheds Sutherland exploring responsibilities and impacts, it goes beyond the legal position and looks at how Safety, Health and Wellbeing (SHW) links into broader risk issues, such as reputation, finance and customer (student) perception. The session is highly interactive, based around how the role of the most senior personnel can influence thinking.
There is a focus on challenging leaders to consider how do they know (have assurance) that the right risks are being managed by the right resource at the right time. This is about exploring with the senior leadership team how controls assurance works and how the on-site safety team contribute to ensuring that safety is delivered on the ground.
The session ends on action planning and by exploring the importance of role-modelling – specifically what should the most senior team “do” to ensure that the SHW message is clear and obvious to everyone.
Appendix 1 Details of Providers
Safety Leadership Programme – Eversheds Sutherland
Our provider for this training is Paul Verrico, widely recognised as the leading legal authority for safety defence in the education sector in the UK. Paul is a partner at Eversheds Sutherland, where his team is routinely retained in matters including explosions, hazardous substance control, falls from height and suicide across the HEI piece acting for both organisations and senior leaders. Paul is also a qualified academic and retains a research interest in safety law, particularly manslaughter and is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and a Visiting Fellow at University of South Wales.
Paul is a qualified solicitor advocate, described in Chambers and Partners as ‘absolutely excellent’ ‘tenacious and extremely robust’ ‘very pragmatic, very responsive and incredibly supportive’ ‘an excellent tactician’ and ‘a hard-working bullish operator with his clients’ interests at the heart of everything he does.’ Paul is currently retained in relation to the Manchester Arena attacks. He has trained over 500 university leaders in the last 4 years and will bring his vast experience to the sessions. Paul worked with UCEA on the Leadership guidance (link above) and is currently supporting various IOSH best practice guides, including the new Investigations Guidance.
Paul’s approach to the sessions will be to meet with a university representative either remotely or face to face, scope out areas of concern and then build something bespoke for each setting, focusing on the areas which are most relevant. The programme will be delivered with case studies and will be ‘law light’ – instead looking at practical learnings and applying experience to local situations.
Safety Leadership Programme – Human Applications
USHA have appointed Human Applications, one of the UK’s leading independent Health and Safety organisations to design and deliver a brand-new safety leadership training programme. Human Applications was founded in 1992 by three researchers from Loughborough University and delivers training, consultancy and audit services to large organisations throughout the world. The session USHA has commissioned is aimed at the most senior leaders in organisations and draws upon the work Human Applications has undertaken in the academic, commercial and government sectors. The highly engaging, interactive training course allows leaders to explore several areas of concern, giving them an understand of how they can better fulfil their health and safety Governance and Assurance roles in a university environment. The course allows delegates to explore the limit of their legal liabilities and looks at how to provide leadership in health and safety.
It presents delegates with a range of models and tools, exploring why people behave in certain ways, how to support the development of a fair and just culture and how to deal with the non-conventional challenges posed by contractors, visitors and students.
The presenters of the sessions have practical experience of working in an academic environment as well as experience in engaging with the most senior leadership teams in large, complex organisations. The session will reflect the experiences the trainers have gained in designing and delivering senior leadership training for organisations as diverse as the Home Office, DHL and GVC. It will provide delegates with the framework they can create to ensure that the delivery of health and safety is effective within their universities and give them an insight into what good looks like. Delegates will be able to draw upon the experience of the trainers in a wide range of organisations and will be able to engage in constructive discussions about how to get better or how to maintain standards.