Latest BCI Score
Bradford city council has more than 14,000 employees and 678 locations, yet all its staff know, whether based in a main office or on a remote site, assistance is just a phone call away. "As a manager you are allowed to manage, but, obviously not just one person is going to know everything," says market superintendent Mel Williams. "However, you have support, if required, and people will bend over backwards to help."
Bradford is the first local authority to appear in our best companies lists. Several others have failed in previous years, but it is not hard to see what Bradford is doing right. It records a 63% positive score for having a strong sense of family within the organisation, 71% for colleagues going out of their way to help each other, and 73% for having teams that are fun to work with.
The City of Bradford Council serves more than 480,000 residents, providing a variety of services including education, social services, regeneration schemes, refuse and theatres. Communication is strong and the chief executive David Kennedy regularly attends staff meetings. "If you work for us, here's the deal: we will look after you," Kennedy says. "Because at the end of the day the companies that do really well care about their staff, and we are trying to get the council ready to compete in the real world."
Management efforts are appreciated by staff, who give the council a 60% positive score for sharing important information with them, 67% for managers talking openly and honestly with them and 69% for feeling fully involved at work.
Last year the council held 14 workshops involving more than 600 employees to ascertain what it is doing right as an employer and what needs to be improved. According to Avril Austerberry, head of the skills for work service, this established a stronger foundation within the organisation. "It provided the bigger picture both within the council and beyond," she says.
Staff appreciate council efforts to promote a good work/life balance, including its investment in services such as life coaching, cognitive behavioural therapy and alternative therapies. Flexible working policies earn Bradford a 62% score for fair workload and 65% for happiness with work/life balance, ranking the council seventh and fifth respectively on these measures. Just four of the big organisations reported a more positive score than Bradford's 58% for not spending too much time at work.
Benefits include a pension scheme, sick pay, holiday allowance and maternity leave, plus annual travel cards, healthcare plans and deals for leisure facilities and theatre tickets. Staff can carry out voluntary work during council time if they match it with the same amount of their own time. Williams, 59, is "doing a sponsored abseil down the central library for the lord mayor's charity" — one chosen annually by the mayor, with staff raising about £100,000 a year for it. The 63% score for making a positive difference to the world earns Bradford another top 10 ranking.
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