Education & Training

Large Scale Facilitation,
Dept of Education & Children’s Services, SA (AUS)

SG - Clients - Facilitation Dept of Education & Children's Services AUS - 16 Aug 2015

Background

The Dept of Education & Children’s Services (DECS) is responsible for ensuring the provision of children’s services & public education throughout South Australia (SA). Their key functions are:
-to set the direction for education & care in SA
-to ensure the state’s education system is well positioned
-to deliver high quality education & care through strategic & coordinated leadership by implementing the strategic plan
-to integrate policy development in collaboration with key stakeholders
-to plan for an effective workforce to meet current & future requirements.

Issue

The role of DECS in relation to children's services involves the provision of preschool services, administration of Family Day Care, sponsorship of Outside School Hours Care programs & the establishment & enforcement of minimum standards for all types of child care. They also manage the state's education system, delivering & regulating high quality primary & secondary education services. The client requested help with large scale facilitation because they wanted to engage many stakeholders as part of their strategic planning process & cultural change program. The incoming CEO, Steven Marshall set up a team to review the functions & structure his departments. After three CEOs in less than a year, it was an opportunity to re-align the organisational structure with the key functions & strategic objectives. It was an opportunity to rebuild from the ground up & in the process, build in the views of the key staff involved.

Solution

A Synergy Global Effectiveness Consultant worked with the CEO & the functional realignment team to determine issues of concern, aspirations & the desired ethos/culture. It involved facilitating the top 1200 people in the organisation in groups of 60 using our ZING electronic meeting system to capture, prioritise & determine an Action Plan.

Outcome

A new divisional structure evolved from the work of the team, & it was subsequently implemented. After a number of years, the success of this approach was acknowledged when Steve was approached to lead the Directorate for Lifelong Learning in Wales, UK. This is one of the first government approaches to education which covered all aspects from childhood services through to tertiary studies.
As a result of this project, the DECS was much clearer about their future direction plus strategy, & could communicate this to stakeholders more effectively, involving parents, local communities in the education of children & students across all areas of the curriculum, whilst preparing them to become active & productive members of our democratic society.

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