Organisational Development

Arun District Council

Comments in quotes come from a chapter on Arun written for the new book ‘Self Managed Learning in Action’ by Marcia Fellows, ex Head of Resources at Arun District Council.


Marcia summarised the issued for Arun District Council as:

‘All of the trends demand of local authorities to: learn more from each other, be more strategic, keep abreast of changes, manage knowledge more effectively, make better use of reducing resources and be more flexible and more creative.’


Initially Arun launched some voluntary Self Managed Learning programmes, mainly for junior managers. These were very much aimed at assisting the managers to improve their personal effectiveness. In all, 43 people went through such programmes.

Because of their success, the Chief Executive agreed to the setting up of a Self Managed Learning programme for all senior managers, including himself and the three Directors.


  • Initial voluntary programme prior to rolling out to all senior managers
  • Meeting with all 50 senior managers to agree the use of SML
  • Design of programme with CEO and Head of Resources
  • Development of internal set advisers – two-day workshop plus various meetings
  • Launch of programme with nine sets
  • Evaluation by Head of Resources

Evaluation & Achievements

Evaluation methods

Questionnaires plus interviews


Outcomes from voluntary programme and later senior management programme included:

  • Feel more in charge
  • See things in different ways
  • Become more open
  • ​Grown in confidence
  • Widen horizons
  • Can be life changing
  • ​Brings a wisdom
  • ​Adopt strategic approach – five questions
  • Manage change more positively
  • Understanding others
  • Inspiring new ways to learn


All quotes from participants

“Unique self development process with the learning set providing encouragement, challenge, help and support.”

“Discovering how I learnt; refreshing, innovative, experimental.”

“Changed my life and outlook.”

“The process has a unique value, a useful tool for management and personal development.”

“Real benefits of building bridges, improved networking, breaking down barriers leading to improved communication and understanding.”

“Open discussion, enjoyable atmosphere, opportunity to try out things in the group, without fear.”

“The feeling of self achievement in realising your own Strategic Learning Contract is very rewarding.”