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Bridgend County Borough Council

Using creative and rigorous assessment methods to make a critical selection decision

The Objective

Bridgend has a firm commitment to modernise its ways of working, to enhance services and to optimise beneficial partnership opportunities. In appointing a new Corporate Director for Wellbeing, the council wanted to ensure that the successful candidate had the full range of competencies, values and drives that would enable it to fulfil its transformational objectives.

The Solution

Insight worked with the Chief Executive and other key stakeholders to closely define the role, the deliverables and the qualities that a post-holder would require to thrive and perform.

We subsequently designed a challenging assessment centre process, involving both key officers and Cabinet Members, which would thoroughly assess each candidate’s capacity to fulfill the job requirements. The assessment centre included the use of on-line psychometrics and a panel interview, but also a range of bespoke innovative approaches including:

  • Real Play – A one-to-one meeting with a senior colleague to resolve a ‘hot topic’ related to budget management. The session required effective leadership, analytical and influencing abilities.
  • Team Facilitation – Leading a meeting with departmental managers on innovative proposals to develop more integrated working relationships with health sector colleagues. The exercise demanded high quality communication, influencing and relationship building skills, with an underlying commitment to partnership working.
  • Report Writing – Producing a Cabinet Report on a new proactive strategy, but one that would require investment and significant change. The candidates’ capacity to evaluate the nature of the opportunity and to construct balanced, but persuasive argument were central to successful performance
  • Interactive Presentation – A key meeting with senior colleagues to outline a coherent vision and key strategies for the directorate, within the context of the Council’s corporate vision and objectives.  The presenter was tasked with persuading others, whilst managing a series of concerns, disagreements and incisive questions!
  • Leadership Interview –  An in-depth exploration of each individual’s preferred approaches to leading, engaging with others, making decisions and structuring their activities, plus an assessment of their resilience and drive. The interview used our on-line psychometric tool as a basis for discussion and exploration.

The results of all of these exercises were intrgrated into punchy candidate summaries, which were presented to and explored with the Council’s member-level appointments committee.

With the benefit of observing the appointee in post for several months, the Chief Executive made the following assessment of the value of the right selection decision:

The Results

The two-day assessment process generated a very detailed profile of each candidate’s strengths, development areas and degree of ‘match’ with the organisation’s values and competencies. The committee felt able to make a well-informed appointment decision with confidence.

“Insight…helped us to gain a holistic picture of candidates…which may have been missed at interview. Insight also worked well with members and officers during the process, so that everyone had a good understanding of the people being interviewed, together with the contribution they would make to the Council and local government more widely

The successful candidate quickly made a strong contribution…and became an essential part of the team. She has brought fresh thinking and ideas about how we manage services and is taking forward transformation projects in adult social care and wellbeing.”

Dr Jo Farrar / The Chief Executive
Get in touch

If you would like to discuss how we can help your organisation, then please get in touch with a member of our team.