Council employs £152k consultants to improve workplace culture and stamp out bullying


Cheshire East Council has employed a management consultancy to help improve its workplace culture and help rid the organisation of bullying.

Sticky Change, who have worked with other councils and organisations, have been appointed for a 12 month period at a cost of £152,460.

Their appointment follows an independent review carried out by the Local Government Association last year into organisational culture at the Council.

The LGA review of the authority's culture concluded that there is evidence that bullying and harassment does take place at the council.

Undertaken by Sarah Messenger, a workforce consultant from the Local Government Association, it revealed that over 200 people had personally experienced bullying and over 360 people had personally witnessed bullying in the past six months.

Having accepted the LGA report and the recommendations Sarah Messenger put forward, the Council will be working with Sticky Change who will design workshops and talk with the wider leadership team, cabinet and members to address cultural change and behaviours.

The process is expected to take 12 months after which Cheshire East Council will be left "with a model that is fully embedded to carry on our transformational journey".

The transformation programme, which has been called "The Brighter Future Transformation Programme" will have a steering group chaired by acting Chief Executive Kath O'Dwyer as programme sponsor.

There will also be a "Brighter Future Together Team", a panel made up of approximately 20 members of staff from different level and areas of the organisation. Their role will be to support the programme and act as a 'critical friend' - providing suggestions, testing what is going to work and helping to take the programme forward.

Additionally there will be a members forum, chaired by Cllr Liz Wardlaw, to help shape the programme and a members' technology and development panel.

Kath O'Dwyer, acting chief executive of Cheshire East Council, said: "We have recently procured and appointed a change management consultancy, 'Sticky Change', to work in partnership with the council on a cultural transformation programme to help us build a positive, supportive culture over the long term.

"Sticky Change has in-depth experience of working on culture change, across all sectors and in local authorities including Manchester, Rochdale, Birmingham, Westminster and Cornwall. We have sought a strategic partner to provide expertise, challenge and fresh approaches to developing the tone, employment deal and culture that we all want to see and experience when working for Cheshire East.

"Over coming months, we will be seeking the views of staff and there will be a range of workshops, surveys and conversations that in different ways engage, empower and enable colleagues to shape and create the change they wish to see.

"I have said before that lasting cultural change will take time and this programme of work with Sticky Change will take about 12 months. The overall aim of the programme is to make a real and tangible shift in our culture and work for a brighter future – together."​

Cheshire East Council


Here's what readers have had to say so far. Why not add your thoughts below.

Allan Lunt
Tuesday 27th March 2018 at 2:50 pm
Seems to me like another total waste of Council Tax payers money. If Cheshire East had a suitable management culture in the first place it wouldn't have been allowed to happen !

What's happening with all the "suspended" senior officers still on full pay for months and months ?
Adrian Scott
Tuesday 27th March 2018 at 3:34 pm
Ye Gods !! We now have to pay a fortune to tell people how to be courteous and behave like sensible adults. In other words, the way normal people do. does this suggest that we aren't dealing with normal people? I love the "Brighter future together team" idea. I guess we the paymasters, would have a much brighter furture without Cheshire East Council !! Think of how much of our wasted money that would save us.
Duncan Marr
Tuesday 27th March 2018 at 4:02 pm
I think the appointment of STICKY FINGERS would have been more appropriate for Cheshire East.

You really couldn't make this up....
Pete Taylor
Tuesday 27th March 2018 at 4:30 pm
I suggest that, like I did, you write to Esther McVey suggesting that she have a discussion with the Secretary of State about putting CEC into Special Measures. She sent me a very polite reply saying that she already had but basically nothing doing at the moment.
I think that if all the folks who have had it with CEC wrote to her, some action might get taken. Eventually. Maybe.
CEC has been unfit for purpose since day one.
Ian Cook
Tuesday 27th March 2018 at 6:33 pm
Seems to me that this is a closed shop operation to try and protect the reputation of CEC, to really take this on they should also invite a local journalist and a couple of other outsiders, poss a senior police officer and a schoolyard bullying independent representative to join the panel.

That way, any serious wrong doing would be reported and poss legally challenged to get them to clean up their act in 6 months rather than 12!

But then would that be bullying them into making a difference?
John Sanderson
Thursday 29th March 2018 at 3:16 am
£152,000 will be only part of the cost. When implementation costs due to staff involvement in courses, workshops and committees, are factored in and maintenance costs after the 12 month period are included, total costs will be probably be two or three times the headline figure.

I have a solution that has worked at my company for nearly 30 years and I shall be pleased to explain it for free to senior staff at CEC. They may contact
Helen Williams
Wednesday 4th April 2018 at 8:12 am
This is a misuse of our council tax, especially as it's risen this year. CEC must have an existing bullying policy and it must be in a managers job description to manage bullying and staff relations. Clearly they need new managers.
Only public sector money could be spent on a 12 month programme addressing unacceptable behaviour.