National Assembly for Wales, Finalist 2015, The Centrica Best for Flexible Working Award

Flexibility has been embedded within the National Assembly for Wales through the creation of the ‘People Strategy’ which stresses the need for the Assembly to be exemplar and leader of best practice, especially in the way it acts as an employer. Employees have access to a range of flexible working options, including; flexible working hours, part time working, term time working, career breaks, compressed hours and job sharing. Most notably they have this from day one of employment. All new starters are presented with the flexible options available to them as part of the induction process. Flexible working options are even advertised during the recruitment process. The Assembly has developed a suite of documents to promote flexible working, including factsheets, booklets, guidance and flow charts. In the last year, 92% of flexible working applications were authorised without any amendments made to them.

Every new role that is created or is being replaced must accommodate flexible working unless the manager submits a business case demonstrating the reasoning and evidence behind why it cannot. This system ensures that, unless a strong case to the contrary is put forward, all of The Assembly’s jobs are advertised as being open to flexible working.

Managers are supported in managing flexible teams. Courses are run helping managers to understand and respond to a flexible working requests. Furthermore, the Assembly has created a Management Development Programme to enable managers to create high performing, flexible teams. This has been very successful. The Security department, which is a large, male dominated, shift orientated department put its managers through the programme to ensure that they were confident in applying the principles of the policy and dealing with applications for flexible working in a fair and consistent manner. In the last eight months, two female and one male employee applied and have been granted term time working and change of hours. The department is currently processing two further applications from fathers who wish to take additional paternity leave and to change their hours, demonstrating that, even in more complex work environments, flexible working is possible.

In the 2013 Staff Survey, 93.8% of The Assembly’s employees strongly agreed that their terms and conditions (family friendly policies, flexible working) motivated them to stay at the Assembly.