The UK Metropolitan County Council (MCC) is facing a number of challenges; there are budgetary pressures following continued financial cutbacks from the government; the need to find savings and provide efficient services; a need to continue with learning and developing of new and old staff, while at the same time meeting increasing demands for services.

To help meet these challenges, MCC is considering initiating a major cross-council transformation program at the start of next year. As part of this, they want to ensure that more responsibility could be placed on delivery managers to control budgets and make informed and suitable financial decisions. The council’s key operational model is based around maximizing the use of technology, with greater self-service for customers, and more accurate and transparent financial information. The key to embedding this model is based on the council’s expectation and need to offer clarity around respective roles and responsibilities of managers and finance staff, to ensure accountability, and to drive the right behaviours – for realistic budget forecasting, and recognizing that public funding is a council-wide resource, and not a personal budget.

As well as ensuring that managers have a clear picture of the wider financial context and challenges facing the local authorities, the council also wants to foster best practice in budget management, such as deciding financial goals, understanding financial terminology, monitoring services requirements and understanding expenditures and income.

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Train for success

With clear objectives and outcomes in mind, MCC senior management knew that a training program would be needed to ensure all its managers were doing the best they could – delivering best practice, value for money and innovation – while enhancing the overall culture within the organization. The business case made by the senior management was that as financial pressures in the public sector continue to bite, there was need for managers to use their resources (i.e. financial, human, and intellectual) as efficiently and effectively as possible, and to avoid a ‘silo’ approach. While some of the managers understand their responsibilities well, the main issue is to improve the organization’s financial and human resource management. This helps meet the authority’s objectives.

MCC’s new operating model focuses on enhancing managers’ accountability, training, improve staff’s behaviour and culture to meet the changes in the type of customers they now serve, develop workforce on new self-service technology and ownership of financial performance, whilst enabling the finance to support them to achieve this. The training program should also consider new managers coming into posts and those new to financial and human resource management processes.

In addition, the Council wants to re-set their finance service offer, roles and responsibilities of line managers and supervisors and the financial framework as part of the new human resources and finance operating models. Hence, the training should be used to update all these expectations. The key to embedding the new operating model is providing clarity around the respective roles and responsibilities of managers and finance staff to ensure accountability and drive the right behaviours – for realistic budget forecasting and recognising that public funding is a council-wide resource, not a personal budget.

However, while most of the senior management are supporting the training to ensure accountability and driving of right behaviours and attitudes, Kerry Williams (the Finance manager) and Johnathon James (the Services Manager) are not happy with this. They argue that training is a waste of money and time. They would rather carry on with how things are or get rid of people who are not performing well and employ new people. In addition, they also do not see why their line managers should spend time developing training/learning needs analysis for that staff in need of development.

Your Task

Question should be answered with a maximum of 1500 words (including reference to the background and any theories/concepts that are applicable)

As the Learning and Development Manager, the senior management request that you prepare essays responding to the questions below:

1) Critically discuss why a training/learning needs analysis is important to organizations and employees. (1000 words minimum)

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