Neath Port Talbot have exhibited exceptional commitment to the development and empowerment of their workforce. Here’s more on how our PDP Partnership has worked with them to endorse their fantastic work.

For us, becoming a PDP Partner shows our commitment to our workforce. We want to make sure that our People practice is as good as it can be, and by benchmarking against the CIPD’s professional map and other organisations, we can demonstrate where our performance sits."

Sheenagh Rees, Head of People and Organisational Development, Neath Port Talbot County Borough Council

At a glance:

  • Neath Port Talbot County Borough Council in Wales employs around 6,800 people.
  • Their HR team of 30 sits in the People and Organisational Development service.
  • The team has responsibilities across Learning, Training and Development, Occupational Health and Safety, Comms and Marketing, and Corporate Strategy.

The Main Objective:

  • The NPT senior managers’ objective is to be “in a very different place” five years from now following the challenges posed by austerity and the pandemic.
  • The NPT has put a corporate strategy in place, enhanced by a strategic workforce plan developed over the past year.

The Main Focus:

"We focus the PDP on the HR team but we are working really hard on synergies across the service," says Sheenagh Rees, NPT’s Head of People and Organisational Development. "I have got an accountable manager heading up each team and we’re making good progress on developing the links between what each team is doing."

"Our vision is of line managers who are much more capable, more confident. Empowered to make their own decisions and less reliant on a very paternalistic HR service where we hold hands and walk people through processes. It’s about taking the HR team from a handholding and information-giving service to HR Business Partnering."

Currently, the focus is on improving capability to better support the “mind-blowing” range of services delivered by the Council. OD, a recent addition to Sheenagh’s remit, has come to the fore and NPT has been working with CIPD to gain a clearer understanding of the impact OD could have on the organisation.

The PDP impact:

  • Around a dozen members of the team have taken part in CIPD workshops on organisational design and development.
  • The team has made use of CIPD’s People Impact (PI) tool and fed the findings into its strategic workforce plan with the aim of boosting performance management.
  • After a decade of downsizing, NPT has found it a challenge to recruit but the PI tool is proving helpful in this respect.
  • The feedback report helped build the HR framework by providing evidence of what the organisation is doing well and where it needs to improve and shows potential employees good People practice.
  • Audit Wales has met with the team to assess NPT’s workforce planning processes. They have indicated that the PDP scheme is an effective way of benchmarking performance.

"Becoming a PDP Partner is really good news for Neath Port Talbot, but I’d said it’s great news for CIPD as well," says Sheenagh. "People are genuinely interested in what we are doing with CIPD, so it should ripple out. That will ultimately be good for us in Neath Port Talbot because as more public sector organisations in Wales become part of the scheme, the more the PI tool becomes something very credible."

Prior to a restructuring, HR services were embedded across different Directorate teams. When a new unified corporate team was created in 2009 the decision was taken to make CIPD membership mandatory at HR officer level and above.

Although the necessity for CIPD membership remains, there is a recognition that more can be done to help team members upgrade their qualifications. Moreover, as part of NPT’s commitment to PDP it has reintroduced an entry level opportunity as a pathway into the team.


"As an HR function, we have always been mindful of the CIPD’s professional map in our practice. However, becoming a PDP Partner has provided us with a more robust framework to incorporate this into everything that we do. Combined with the online training modules, PDP status has had a real impact to our service and in turn to the Council as a whole." Diane Hopkins, Principal HR Manager, Neath Port Talbot County Borough Council.

To find out more about becoming a CIPD People Development Partner, get in touch with the team by emailing

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