Evaluating the impact of the IPOP (Improving Personal and Organisational Performance) programme
Keywords:<i>continuing professional development</i>, <i>post-qualifying social work</i>, <i>leadership and management</i>, <i>evaluation</i>, <i>impact</i>, <i>self-leadership</i>
A host of recent UK social work publications have highlighted the critical importance of leadership and management development for social work managers. The lack of specialist leadership and management development is evidenced by the General Social Care Council’s figures on the uptake of post-qualifying leadership and management programmes. There is a limited amount of published research on the impact of this type of professional learning as most studies focus on programme delivery rather than on their impact on practice. Hence, this paper will report on an evaluation of the practice-related impact of an introductory leadership and management programme, using data from pre- and post-programme questionnaires (n=75), follow up telephone interviews at 3-months (n=24) and an initial analysis of submitted assignments (n=32). Those data are drawn from consenting social work managers across 5 widespread local authorities in England. The programme, Improving Personal and Organisational Performance, is taught over 4-days in two, 2-day blocks and focuses on three areas of development: self-leadership, communication and resilience as a leader. A third-party testimony process, alongside assignment submission, ensures the involvement of, and validation from, the employer. The findings of the evaluation indicate positive, statistically significant evidence of initial programme impact on managers and longitudinal examples of actual programme impact on managers, their teams, organisations and services. The implications of these findings will be considered in relation to the new Professional Capabilities Framework.