Project background

Undertaking a Performance Efficiency Programme (PEP), the MoJ was required by Government to identify £1bn worth of savings.  The MoJ addressed this though a performance evaluation programme, and managers requested skills training to support them to improve performance.

Performance management had been executed poorly in the MoJ, primarily because individuals wished to avoid confrontation /unpleasantness.  There was a large percentage of people routinely awarded “not met” on appraisal objectives, but performance issues remained unaddressed.  We designed and delivered a programme on performance management for the Ministry of Justice, specifically the Justice Academy, which ran from May 2009 to November 2010, with a total contract value of £60,000.

Project deliverables

The programme developed adopted a blended learning approach and aimed to meet the specific needs of the participants by using individual cases. Participants were supported after the workshop, particularly through Justice Academy, but also through other routes, such as peer support, email and telephone coaching.

The programme involved:

  • Storytelling and narrative analysis for each participant

  • Scenario development and role play

  • Video to record role plays for analysis and skills development

  • Short, specific skills training sessions addressing individual participant needs

The design of the programme underlined that:

  • Storytelling encourages reflection, often producing change on its own

  • Relevance of training to participant needs is key to retention

  • Peer involvement aids problem solving


fe3 have designed and delivered three new innovative and impactful learning interventions for the Justice Academy, the learning function within the Ministry of Justice.  Centred around individuals facing leadership, performance or stakeholder challenges, these events involved people writing an account, or story,  detailing a difficult relationship they are facing, from which Karen developed practice sessions involving video work, group feedback and skills input (known as ‘skillsbites’) – designed specifically for the individuals involved.  These events were quite high-risk for a mainly traditional organisation such as MoJ, but were unique in that they offered delegates a chance to get individualised attention and input, rather than a ‘one-size fits all’ generic training event.  These have been a great success, with delegates reporting real shifts in their thinking and post-event behaviour back in their ‘day jobs’. For example, “the story board was wonderful, with the support and feedback from the facilitator, the experience was so much better because it was real” and “the role play and video playback was like a road to Damascus”.

Building confidence has been a major outcome– “prior to the event I thought my confidence [in managing this individual’s performance] was about 8/10, however once I had attended the event I realised that I wasn’t actually that good and should have only given myself a 6.  I now rate my confidence at a 9”.

As well as the positive results for delegates and the organisation, working with Karen has been a real pleasure -she’s creative, yet grounded, highly committed and conscientious and not afraid to challenge.  She also brings a wealth of knowledge and skill.

Zoe Birch, Senior Change & Organisational Development Consultant, Corporate Learning, Group HR, Ministry of Justice

Project Details

Client:Ministry of Justice
Skills:Leadership and development