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Leeds-Bristol partnership reflects changing times

19 March 2010

The Universities of Leeds and Bristol are to collaborate on a project designed to enable higher education institutions to engage with and support their staff so they can perform better during challenging times.

The Leeds-Bristol collaboration is one of seven projects funded by the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) as part of its £1.5-million ‘Leading Transformational Change’ initiative. The projects aim to enable the higher education sector to continue to play an important role in the economic recovery. The initiative will see the resources of HEFCE’s Leadership, Governance and Management Fund used for projects that will capture emerging good practice in responding to the economic downturn and preparing for recovery.

The Leeds-Bristol project builds on the work of a HEFCE-funded series of ‘well-being-themed workshops’ originally set up in 2008. The two-stage project will first consider examples of good practice in the UK and move on to consider different aspects of well-being in the workplace.

Bristol’s involvement will concentrate on how to take people through the change process. Consultants Robertson Cooper (based at the University of Leeds) will be working with a group of resource managers at Bristol to examine the impact and effectiveness of development interventions that will take place soon to help them lead and manage change in their teams.

Christian Carter, the University of Bristol’s Organisational Development Manager (Staff Development), said: ‘We are all increasingly subject to change in the workplace, now perhaps more than ever, and our ability to engage people with this change through high-quality management will have a significant impact on its success. Managing change effectively has become one of the main features of the University’s Positive Working Environment initiative.’

Of all the well-being projects under way in British higher education, Bristol’s Positive Working Environment initiative has won the most plaudits. In 2009, it scooped the Outstanding Human Resource Initiative Award at the Times Higher Education Leadership and Management Awards in June, and in September won the Global Human Resource Development Award from the International Federation of Training and Development Organisations.

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