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Renfrewshire Council in conjunction with NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde and the National Australia Group (Clydesdale & Yorkshire Bank) launched a pilot Cross Organisational Mentoring Initiative at the beginning of 2013. We believe that this is the first time a programme like this has taken place in Scotland, with involvement from both the public and private sector. We subsequently ran a further cohort launching at the end of 2014 with sets beginning in 2015, due to the success of the pilot programme.
The programme won the Professional Development Project of the Year Award at the SMN awards in 2015. Currently plans are being formulated to run a further cohort launching later on in 2016. Participants are either mentoring, or are being mentored by managers from NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde or National Australia Group (Clydesdale Bank).
Our mentors are mentoring one of their staff and vice versa. Mentees within the Council have benefitted from having an external 'fresh' perspective from similar organisations who are going through similar challenges (economic downtown, doing more with less, less staff etc.), are able to acquire skills and ideas from other organisations that can be transferred to their workplace, and have a critical friend who they won't feel 'threatened' by. Mentors have benefited by "reflecting on their own practices" and by supporting someone else to develop, they feel they have shared their knowledge, skills and experience.
Equally Renfrewshire Council have benefitted by having managers who will are more innovative, are more open to acceptable risk, and who have developed in a way in which we haven't traditionally focused on before. Glasgow Caledonian University initially undertook periodic and final evaluation of the pilot project in exchange for this being used as a piece of academic research.