Supporting organizational turnaround in local authorities
In December 2002, 15 local authorities in England were judged by the British Audit Commission under the government’s Comprehensive Performance Assess ment (CPA) to be poor or otherwise so weak in their corporate performance as to need to engage in radical recovery planning, or organization turnaround. Various forms of intervention were offered, or imposed, to help senior managers and local politicians with the recovery and improvement process in their authorities. One of these interventions was action learning sets run with senior managers during 2003 to 2004. Four sets ran, focusing on specific areas of activity, covering human resource management, finance and performance management, and we, the authors of this chapter, each facilitated one or two sets. This chapter aims to convey how action learning was used to contribute to organization turnaround. It is written from our perspective as facilitators and is our interpretation of events. It is based on material collected from participants and recorded by us during the life of the sets, as gathered through ongoing feedback, facilitator diaries and a final participant survey.