Research & Publications
January 29 2013
Relationship Web – improving ALB / Departmental relationships
Relationship Web is a two way self-assessment tool. This characteristic marks it out from many other relationship surveys because instead of simply reflecting on your own perceptions of the relationship, you are able to gain an insight into how the arm’s-length body (ALB) or sponsoring department that you are working with views the relationship too.
In It takes two, our framework for effective relations produced jointly with the Institute for Government last year, we identified five key ‘buckets’ for effectiveness in ALB / Department relationships: accountabilities; strategic approach; financial and performance management; communication and engagement; and relationship management. Relationship Web uses the diagnostic questions set out in the framework and groups them around these same five areas.
Since its launch, some key Departments and ALBs have got on board and have started using Relationship Web. These include Ministry of Justice, DCLG, Defra and their public bodies. This is really positive progress, but clearly, there are many more Departments and ALBs who could benefit from taking part. We want to ensure that the tool reaches its potential and helps as many different Departments and ALBs as possible. So if you work for an ALB or Department and are yet to use the tool, please take a few minutes of your time to register for Relationship Web and get started. The more people that use Relationship Web, the greater the impact it can have and the greater improvements will be.
To request access, please email Amy Noonan (email@example.com).
How it works
When completing the exercise, you will be asked to state how strongly you agree with each statement using a seven point scale.
See below for an example of a statement that appears in the accountabilities section:
Q5 There is an agreed common understanding of the role of the chair and chief executive that is shared at all levels of the department and the ALB.
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
Once complete, your results are plotted on to a ‘spider’s web’ – the further away from the centre your responses, the more effective your relationship; the idea being to stretch the web over time to improve your performance.
Individual ALBs and Departments can then compare results to see how each party views their relationship. Rather than being the solution to any issues in the relationship, the exercise should act as a useful conversation starter between Department and ALB.
Please visit the research page on our website for more comprehensive information on how the tool works, including standard user and super user access.
March 22 2012
It takes two: how to create effective relations between ALBs and Departments
Effective relations between Arm’s Length Bodies (ALBs) and Government Departments are critical to the efficient and effective delivery of public services and it is crucial that we get them right.
The Public Chairs’ Forum (PCF) and the Institute for Government are pleased to publish this framework for good practice aimed at creating effective relationships between government and arms-length bodies.
December 14 2011
Board Governance Essentials: A Guide for Chairs and Boards of Public Bodies
Public bodies are an intrinsic part of the delivery of public services and it is crucial that their boards have the necessary support, knowledge and expertise to operate well. The Public Chairs’ Forum (PCF) and the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA) have today published a joint ‘how to’ guide for Chairs and Boards of public bodies. Board Governance Essentials: A Guide for Chairs and Boards of Public Bodies offers Chairs and board members indispensible advice on the roles that they perform, in turn helping to make their time with the board as effective and fulfilling as possible.
The guide is available to all PCF members free of charge and be downloaded here (password required). The guide is also available to purchase from the CIPFA website
Our newsletter features the most up to date news on the work of the PCF, along with guest articles on topical issues. Sign up to it here.
PCF Membership is open to all Chairs of Public Bodies, regardless of the size, status or remit of their organisation.
Relationship Web is a diagnostic self-assessment tool, for both ALBs and Departments to use to test the state of the relationship.
It is based on the diagnostic questions within the joint PCF and Institute for Government framework for effective relations and allows Departments and ALBs to identify strengths and weaknesses in their own relationships. The diagnostic statements are divided into five key areas for effectiveness, as identified in ‘It takes two’: accountabilities; strategic approach; financial and performance management; communication and engagement; and relationship management.
After completing the exercise, your results are then plotted on to a 'spider’s web' – the further away from the centre your responses, the more effective your relationship; the idea being to stretch the web over time to improve your performance. You will then be able to download a PDF version of the 'spider’s web' and save this on your computer. There will be an opportunity for individual ALBs and Departments to compare results to see how each party views their relationship. Rather than being the solution to any issues in the relationship, we hope that this exercise will act as a useful conversation starter between Department and ALB.
PUBLIC CHAIRS' FORUM WEB APPLICATION
Cabinet Office have recently produced a checklist to help Arms Length Bodies and Departments to ensure that the most important aspects of managing transitions are considered. Inevitably, no one transition is identical to another one and depending on the type of transition you are involved in, there will be certain things within the checklist that don't apply to the specific circumstances of your transition.
So, rather than having to explore which parts are relevant to your circumstances, the Public Chairs' Forum has designed an application that will do this for you. By answering some simple questions about your transition, the application will produce a customised report and checklist, ensuring you focus on the right issues at the right time. We hope that the combination of the checklist and application will help to bring clarity, focus and practical solutions to an often complex process. Download your personalised report here.