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MIAA and IiP: A View from Another Lens

MIAA has been delivering audit, assurance and consultancy services to the public sector and, in particular, the NHS, for 30 years. Their services include Internal Audit, Anti- Fraud, Healthcare Quality, Technology and IT, and Clinical Coding, Transformational Change, Leadership and Governance. MIAA’s clients trust their independence, professionalism and advice.

When MIAA say they will do something, or state when it is going to happen, it happens.

Well, is this unusual? I hear you say.

They don’t mess me about, they don’t keep changing their minds, cancelling and delaying, when they commit to something, they do it…… Now that might sound like such small beer, such a small thing, but if you are a contractor, a customer, a supplier, a worker or a client, this type of behaviour promotes the healthiest of cultures, we know where we are and what to expect. Consistency and recognition that my time is just as valuable.

Making commitments and keeping them, no matter how busy we are or what else is going on at work, validates the other person/organisation and it promotes cultural norms that support inclusion and recognition. It forms the unwritten code of everybody matters. We don’t just priorities the CEO and the senior people’s involvement and their time, we prioritise everybody’s.

I have worked with so many organisations that have constantly delayed action or have indeed kicked it into the long grass because they lack commitment in following up on what was agreed or planned! Did they mean what they said they were going to do in the first place? Other priorities are used as an excuse to not complete agreed action.

MIAA, rather than failing to follow through, demonstrate flexibility with the approach and take stakeholders with them. If plan A isn’t going to work, we’ll find plan B.

Organisations in public and private sector are chasing accreditations like a kite mark, so why is Investors in People any different?

IiP, as people probably know, is a standard for People Management. IiP was previously owned by the UK government. It is now a Community Interest Company IiP kite marks. IiP have accredited more than 50,000 organisations; the rankings are bronze, silver, gold and platinum.

When MIAA achieved Gold IiP accreditation I was delighted although not really surprised.

Commissioned to work with MIAA in February 2020 to do a strategic programme of OD, mainly face-to-face across their offices in the North West. In March 2020 a global pandemic was declared, shall we postpone our plans? Many organisations would have

…. No, we will go ahead, say the Executive team, this is about our staff and how we can support them, they may need this more than ever now, let us be courageous and trust in the process so we were away…….

Whenever we plan an event at a specific time the entire list of attendees, always attend on time. “Hey! This is great.” I say, “well done for being so on time.” This then happened time and time again… might just be my perception but this has not always been my experience in many other settings; MIAA does what it says it will do and the staff happily cooperate and participate.

As an independent OD practitioner and former NHS Director of Strategy, I have worked with 100’s of organisations through supporting boards and teams to work with staff to gain ownership and build a culture of inclusion and belonging based on values.

So, I thought I would be doing the very same with MIAA. Well, in fact, I am but with an unusual twist. The global pandemic hit and MIAA wanted to ensure that their staff could connect with the values of the organisation and each other, so the senior team threw energy into helping staff connect during the spring and summer of 2020.

Action learning was embarked on. It was based on supporting staff well-being, providing a way for staff to connect across the organisation whilst everybody was working from home. It was recognised that staff could potentially be feeling isolated and becoming used to the unusual new ways of working. It was a risk that paid off through the courage shown. Staff loved the way they had been trusted to work differently and agilely.

All staff OD events previously planned to be real time face-to-face, became real time online. “We have never done all this real time learning online before and I’m not sure how effective it will be” said Karan Wheatcroft Operations Director, “but it supports our values of Agility, Courage and Trust, so let’s do it”, and so we did it.

We ran engagement events throughout July and August and together built some of the priorities for the future OD strategy. We asked people who joined the all staff events how MIAA had lived their values through the pandemic. Staff said the values were part of them, not written on a notice board, but part of how they delivered their business and went about their work.

“95% of people say there is a clear set of values and they share the organisations values”

IiP Gold Report 2020


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