Canterbury Christ Church University, in partnership with Shared Service Architecture, has established the UK’s first postgraduate qualification for developing collaborative transformations across the public sector.

The Postgraduate Certificate in Collaborative Transformation (PCCT) equips leaders and managers with the skills and knowledge to accelerate the scale and pace of combined authorities, city regions, health & social care transformation, blue light collaborations and shared services in local government, housing, health and education.

This six month, work-based, programme provides you with the knowledge and skills to become a valuable in-house resource, able to cascade your learned skills across colleagues working on collaboration activities. 14 cohorts of senior managers and leaders from across the public sector, now hold a Postgraduate Certificate in Collaborative Transformation. Many have gone on to gain senior posts, and tell us that the PCCT is a contributor to being called for interview.

The postgraduate certificate is championed at the highest levels of the public sector.

Sir Merrick Cockell presents graduates with their certificates


Baroness Hanham presents graduates with their certificates


Minister Brandon Lewis presenting graduates with their certificates


Emeritus Professor John Raine presenting graduates with their certificates


Lord Gary Porter presenting graduates with their certificates


What do the graduates say about their postgraduate certificate experience?

Richard Melton, Chief Inspector (SSA – Police Lead for collaboration, Essex Police) says “The tools learned throughout the post graduate programme were invaluable when working through some tricky relationships. Whilst the Police & Crime Act places a duty to collaborate on blue light agencies, it is the management of multi-layered relationships which will prove to be the key to collaborative success. The post graduate programme not only allowed me to use new tools to map collaborative opportunities, it also made it clear which projects to leave alone as any outcome would have been disproportionate to the input. The assignment’s gave me the opportunity to step back and review my own collaborative approach from an academic perspective and I found this opportunity to have been the most beneficial. My final assignment concluded that I wished I had undertaken this qualification before taking up post as collaboration lead. If you are about to undertake a significant piece of collaborative work within the public sector – I cannot impress the importance of doing this course first.”

Sarah Robson, Head of Transformation, Shepway District Council says, "Gaining this qualification is a ‘must have’ for understanding the complexities of delivering transformation within the public sector. The course modules are impactful and showcase best practice, whilst the accompanying course handbooks provide everything you need to deliver change programmes across partners. Folkestone & Hythe District Council is now well under way in realising its transformation ambitions."

Joe Hassell, Area Manager, Head of Transformation, Devon and Somerset Fire & Rescue says, "The Postgraduate Certificate in Collaborative Transformation is a must for any managers in the public sector who are looking to work with others, either internally or externally. The focus on creating a shared vision and understanding how to map and work through the barriers to collaboration was particularly useful to me, and I have used the tools a number of times in the last 6 months to great success.

I particularly liked that the assignments were relevant to my work, and the final assignment gave me a real opportunity to put into practice the tools and theories learned on the course to create a work plan that is currently being considered by the executive board."

Julian Ashley SSA, Fire Service Lead for Collaboration, Essex County Fire & Rescue Service says, "With the introduction of the Police and Crime Act 2017 placing a statutory duty on emergency services to collaborate it was essential that our collaboration team and our strategic managers had the necessary tools, techniques, skills and knowledge to effectively work in partnership with our emergency service colleagues. Completing the course has provided the team with a unified understanding and ways of working to drive and achieve collaborative thinking and working. The tool boxes and highway code to collaborative working and shared services have been our foundation guides’ on which we’ve built our programme; and I would estimate likely saved us two years of potentially misguided and misdirected efforts. I would recommend the course and its supporting guides as essential to supporting any emergency service in meeting its statutory duties."

Amardip Healy SSA, Head of Legal Services, Slough Borough Council wrote about the course: "The PGCERT gives you the skills, knowledge and an understanding that is useful right across a very wide spectrum of work.  I undertook the course to inform me on outsourcing projects rather than on shared services.  I found it relevant to any project that requires collaboration.  In short, a highly recommended course for anyone wishing to be more informed about how to deliver transformational change successfully."

Errol Williamson SSA, Finance Manager, London Borough of Hounslow says, "I took away from the course the skills, ability and confidence to implement a collaborative change programme involving multiple organisations.  I was fascinated by the vast array of tools demonstrated during the course modules and since completing the course I have used many of those tools to analyse scenarios, gather information and communicate strategies thereby saving my organisation significant time and avoiding expensive consultancy fees. Thanks to the course I am now considered within my organisation as the go-to-expert on change management and collaboration."

Graduate Sadie Lynch SSA, SSC Project Manager, Surrey County Council says, "Completing this course and working through the assignments has given me the confidence at a crucial time in the development of Surrey County Councils partnership with East Sussex County Council.  I have been able to use the tools, techniques, skills and knowledge to work with senior managers and colleagues in starting to shape the future.  Being able to influence, guide and support transformation rather than sitting back and just watching is very empowering and I can see how I can make a positive difference in how this partnership develops.  As well as benefitting the organisation, the experience has been of great personal benefit and I really enjoyed it."

Graduate Claire Taylor SSA, Corporate Performance Manager, Cherwell District and South Northamptonshire Councils talks about the benefits of the programme, “The post graduate certificate in shared services management is a practical and comprehensive guide to the challenges of setting up and delivering shared services. The knowledge, skills and tools explored within the programme have been invaluable and have helped me secure a new shared services role across two local authorities.”

Graduate Jessica Harris SSA, former Relationship Manager for Libraries in the West Midlands, at Arts Council England feels that the three modules in the programme were very helpful. “This course has strengthened my skills in supporting partnerships in my area of specialism, cultural services. Some of these partnerships are seeking to share services, whilst others are focused on pilot projects which may lead to further joined-up work.  I am now able to draw on theory and practical resources to help them build strong collaborations and to secure efficiencies and impact as a result.”

Graduate Bukky McGlynn SSA, Customer Experience and Strategy Manager at Surrey County Council Shared Services confirms that, “Doing the course was a fantastic opportunity to learn more about the shared services models, what makes them work and why many of them fail. I now understand the importance of developing a shared vision and collaboration in creating successful, sustainable partnerships. I have used the learning from the course to inform our partnership and commercial offering discussions.”.

Graduate Graham Rogers SSA, Deputy Vice Chancellor, University of Wales (Newport), also a graduate on the programme, has been putting the learning into action in the development of closer working across the HE sector in Wales. Graham believes that, “The course has provided the essential skills and a toolkit to establish a successful shared service, together with insight into how to avoid the pitfalls. It was excellent value for money.”

Graduate Geoff Thomas, Assistant Director Policy and Performance, Dudley Council says, "I found the course ever so interesting and helpful, not just on shared service issues, but across much wider areas of my work. I find the toolkits really valuable, and the insights and support you provided throughout the course were really appreciated".

Graduate Kiran Lahel Shared Services Officer Walsall Council wrote saying that the PCSS was, "A challenging but rewarding, thought provoking experience enabling me to think outside the box and question current and future practices. Not only was delivery through a honest and professional approach but the course was instrumental in providing me with the tools and techniques for future collaborative activity".

Graduate Tariq Al Shehhi, Head of IT, Emirates Advanced Investments Group emailed to say, "The course met my expectations very well. It was a very useful experience to understand shared services concepts and to practice shared services tools. Through real life application of such tools, the shared services program in my workplace did actually move forward positively after a long period of stall. Now I am getting senior management appreciation, which is added to my career achievements".

Graduate Anne Nikolaou, Head of Business Support at Oldham Council says, that she “Found the course challenging and enjoyable in equal measure. The resources are excellent and presented in a clear and amusing way that makes them easy to apply at the many, and varied, stages of a shared service journey.  Even if you don’t jump straight into developing a shared service, the learning around collaborative working and leadership prove extremely valuable in any working environment.”

Graduate Jim O’Hagan, Director of Finance and Corporate Services, Southern Regional College says, that "The Post Graduate Certificate in Shared Services was both challenging and enjoyable combining excellent tuition on key elements of the theory and literature of change management alongside practical approaches, resources and methods to taking forward shared initiatives and projects.  I would strongly recommend this programme to anyone involved in shared services or indeed any other type of change management project."

Graduate Julie Johnson, Business Development/Partnership Officer, Kent County Council says "I enjoyed studying the post graduate certificate and studying and meeting with colleagues from other organisations was very useful.  As we are all working on similar challenges it was good to be able to share ideas and compare experiences. The assignments gave me sufficient time to seriously consider previous projects and how the shared services tools and techniques could have helped.  It allowed me to think about how I could use these tools in the future.  Overall, I feel more confident I am asking the right people the right questions when I work on shared services. I would also like to say, I found the tutors very helpful and supportive throughout the course and this was much appreciated. "

Graduate Marian Bunton, Programme Manager, SSCL says "This has been a really rewarding experience. Although I have worked in Shared Services for over two years this course and the supplied tools enabled me to take a fresh approach to the work I carry out as part of a Shared Service. The course has been particularly useful as my organisation is undergoing huge transformational change and I have been able to uilitise my new skills both personally and professionally to enhance the transformation process for me and my team. The tool boxes have enabled my team and myself learn and understand the key enablers to successfully drive collaboration with our clients to create achievable business cases to deliver business critical changes within their organisations at a benefit to all concerned."

Graduate Mike Lea, Programme Manager Projects Team, SE Shared Services talks about how the course helped in winning the 2014 SSON Award for ‘Best Shared Service Centre in Europe for Customer Service’; a remarkable achievement for a public sector organisation.  “This course provided the insight, tools and techniques needed to help us transform our services in terms of performance and a more sustainable future, key elements in our submission for the SSON Awards.”  ‘SE Shared Services’, is a partnership between Surrey County Council and East Sussex County Council.

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