It's one of our aims to provide accreditation for public sector organisations, to drive action and to measure and recognise success in the best practice of flexible working and hiring. The first of these programmes already exists for local authorities : Timewise Council Accreditation.

What is the Timewise Council programme?

It’s a continuous improvement programme to help local authorities identify, adopt and share best practice in flexible working as a valuable tool in achieving transformational change. Local authorities that undertake the programme are awarded Timewise Council status and become part of a growing network of local authorities taking a leadership role on flexible and agile working. Take a look at the local authorities which are already taking part.

The programme and network is run by flexibility experts Timewise, a multi award-winning social business that provides consultancy and recruitment services to many of the UK’s leading employers across both public and private sectors. Timewise delivers the programme in partnership with the Local Government Association.

Why Timewise Councils?

In a time of unprecedented pressure on budgets and services, local authorities are needing to find ways to ensure they use talent in the right way at the right time, for maximum performance and organisational value. Recruiting, developing and retaining staff who can thrive in this culture is a priority, and embracing flexible working and flexible hiring is key to making this work.

Understanding flexibility can also help councils shape the market for services that they commission (rather than provide directly), to ensure best value. And it can support inclusive economic growth and reduced inequality within the local labour market, by unlocking more quality flexible jobs for residents who need them, thereby improving living standards.

Recent research from the Centre for Economics and Business Research (Cebr) found that flexible working could add £11.5 billion to the UK economy through more productive use of hours. Larger corporate businesses working with Timewise to implement and manage workplace flexibility have already seen an estimated £15m in financial benefits per annum through improved productivity, reduced travel and real estate costs and improved staff attraction and retention.

How does it work?

The Timewise Councils programme has been designed as a suite of tools and services to help councils develop approaches that match the context of their organisations, and that fit with their strategic objectives and priorities. The core programme can be accommodated within existing HR/OD programmes over a period of four months and comprises the following key stages:

1. Briefing and initial diagnostic
2. Flexibility audit and analysis
3. Development of flexibility improvement plan
4. Leadership workshop
5. Final review and feedback
6. Award of Timewise Council status

At the end of the programme, councils will have a structured improvement plan with clear actions to drive change in flexible working, flexible hiring and flexible commissioning, and also to use learning externally to influence employers to stimulate a more flexible local labour market for residents. Upon submission of an improvement plan, councils will be awarded Timewise Council status.

How much cost is involved?

Aside from a consultancy fee payable to Timewise, there is no specific requirement for councils to spend money on flexible working. We expect improvement plans to add value for councils, either by increasing the impact of their services or by delivering them more efficiently.

Wider benefits

Timewise Council status provides an opportunity for local authorities to participate in a national programme of learning and improvement around flexible working by sharing experience and best practice. Timewise Councils receive regular news and information and can participate in events to acknowledge their achievements and influence the development of the programme.

Further details

• Download our Guide to the Timewise Council Programme
• Public sector organisations interested in accreditation should contact

Guide to Timewise Council ProgrammeGuide to the Timewise Council programme

This guide explains the process of becoming a Timewise Council, including the criteria involved, how a local authority sets goals and then measures progress towards them, and the support that Timewise will provide.

Download pdf

Video: Camden becomes the first ever Timewise Council

In this video Sarah Hayward, Leader of Camden Council, talks about her vision for reducing poverty and increasing workplace equality through greater use of flexible working. And Emma Stewart of Timewise talks about the collaboration process of becoming a Timewise Council.