Transforming Tewkesbury – a winning partnership!

IRRVawards1Last week I had the pleasure of spending time at the IRRV national conference with the Revenues & Benefits Team from Tewkesbury Borough Council – and what an event it turned out to be!

12 months ago ICE began working on a transformation programme with the service and the conference was the culmination and celebration of all that we have achieved together. It’s been a long journey, but with outstanding results and the commitment and enthusiasm of the team throughout the process has been a pleasure to witness.

The team wanted to improve efficiency and processes, drive culture change and most importantly determine how to deliver better services to their customers. At the outset they had backlogs of work and long processing times. The service was very reactive with little or no capacity to look into the future and be proactive in their approach.

Using the ICE 7Es model, we worked with the team to transfer skills and knowledge which empowered them to make significant and sustainable changes in their system. The outcome: recognition at the IRRV Performance Awards 2015 as a top performing service and a transformation to be truly proud of.IRRVawards2

One of the key features of ICE’s 7Es model is that we work with you and don’t do to you. Working together, the teams have achieved so much, including:

  • The Benefits team being ranked 15 out of 201 district councils and top performer in Gloucestershire
  • Elimination of the backlog of work
  • New claims: processing time reduced from 37 days to 9 days
  • Change of circumstances: processing time reduced from 25 days to 8 days
  • Significant increase in Benefits subsidy
  • 80% reduction in failure demand into the Benefits service
  • 75% increase in Revenues customers having their accounts administered at the point of contact
  • 60% reduction in incorrect ad-hoc bills
  • Creation of a motivated and empowered work force, open to change and with capacity to build wider partnerships.

The core team we worked with included all levels of staff from front line through to the Head of Service, with leadership and sponsorship from the Deputy Chief Executive. Having achieved so much in such a short space of time we decided that it would be a great idea to enter the IRRV Performance Awards. The service had never considered this in the past and it was testimony to the new way in which they now looked at their world. So, together, we began to think about the applications and put pen to paper.

To our delight both the Revenues Team and Benefits Team were shortlisted into the last five nationally for their respective team of the year awards. The awards panel sent judges along to the Council to talk to the team about the work that they had done, and are continuing to do. This was a great success, with both teams subsequently being invited along to the IRRV Performance Awards Gala dinner in Telford on 7th October.

The team sent a mini bus of staff up to the conference and donned their gladrags for a much deserved evening of celebration. It was a joy to see their pride and sense of achievement on the night and the realisation that they were indeed recognised for their hard work and positive attitude towards continuous service improvement.

I watched with all of the pride of a mother around her brood as they awaited the results and, despite not getting the award overall, they truly believed in themselves and their own achievements as their name came up on the big screen as national finalists.

The buzz that they continued with throughout the night and again the next morning was evidence of just how far they have come – they had ‘got it’! We talked and planned what next, how they continue their journey of continuous improvement, the bigger picture going forward and about always putting their customers first and trying new ways to help people.

Giving those that do the work the power, culture and enthusiasm to keep making better happen is truly a rewarding job and makes me realise it’s why I go to work every day. You don’t need a trophy or an award to be a winner – you just need the right way of thinking and the behaviour to keep on going, to achieve the outcomes you seek and to keep on growing.

Here’s to next year and the journey that keeps on going!

To find out more about ICE’s 7Es model and how we can help you on your transformation journey, contact:

Stoptober Halfway

Stoptober Coventry

As you reach the two week milestone on your Stoptober smoke free journey, you may be feeling that things are getting more challenging rather than easier. Although it can be tricky, motivation and determination are often high as you navigate your way through your first few days smoke free. As the days go on, the part of the brain that wants its regular doses of nicotine begins to realise that this change is for good. As a stop smoking adviser I see many people, often with similar withdrawal symptoms, including:

  • Irritability and mood swings
  • Restlessness and disturbed sleep
  • Headaches and difficulty concentrating
  • Increased appetite and possible weight gain
  • Strong urges to smoke.

This is normal; your brain wants you to smoke, it has become used to it and when you say no, it uses whatever means it can to try and get you to smoke… but stay strong! The only way to break the addiction to nicotine is to be 100% smoke free – even a single puff can wake up the part of the brain that you are working so hard to send to sleep. By resisting every urge to smoke, you will find that over the next couple of weeks it will get easier and the cravings will become less frequent and significantly weaker.

When you feel the urge to smoke, you want to stop those cravings DEAD in their tracks:

D – Delay: say you’ll wait an hour. It’s surprising how quickly the feeling passes and is no longer on your mind.

E – Escape: the situation that is tempting you to smoke. Whether it is stressful or social, make your excuses and leave… they’ll understand.

A – Avoid: in the first few tricky weeks, it is key to avoid those occasions that you know will be a challenge. It won’t need to be forever, but just for the time being it may be best to forego situations where you know it will be difficult to say ‘no’.

D – Distract: this is one of the main tools in your stop smoking toolbox. If you feel the urge to smoke then do something else. Take the dog out, make a cup of tea, call a friend, do a crossword, wash up – anything that will distract you, even if just for five minutes as this is often long enough for the feeling to subside, so that you can carry on with your day.

Don’t forget, if you are stopping smoking, your stop smoking adviser is always there to give you advice and support in managing urges to smoke, as well as other withdrawal symptoms.

Visit to share your experiences, track your success and get more tips and motivation for your stop smoking journey.

For more information or to access support you can contact Sue Pretty on 07912 290653 or at

You can’t do it on your own?

Stop Smoking Les

Stoptober is upon us and the feeling deep down is that you want to quit smoking; or is it a vague feeling that you should? Is it just that the nagging has to stop eventually? We always look for the positive in any new thing that we do. It enables us to focus on an exciting outcome which can have long term benefits in our lives. Smoking is without a doubt the number one health change you can make. It impacts on so many levels, both for our own bodies and to the lives and feelings of others around us.

Many feel that it should be looked upon as a challenge, something to be conquered and destroyed, planting your flag at the summit and taking a congratulatory selfie. Others feel that it is no big thing, ‘smoking is something stupid I started when I thought it was big and now it’s time to put childish things away and look to a healthier future.’

The truth is somewhere in the middle. It’s different for everybody but with the same outcome. People tackle it in various ways. We have The smoke free home method where we protect everyone we love by not smoking in the house. Then we remember about the Seven Steps rule and make sure the smoke does not blow back in. Most of the harmful chemicals in cigarettes are not visible so if you stand by the back door, it will be coming into your home without you detecting it. This will affect toddlers and pets who are at that lower level and breathe your smoke.

As from 1st October, it will be illegal to smoke in your car with anybody under 18 years of age present. This isn’t an affront to your civil liberties but a protection for those strapped in who cannot make the choices you have made.

So here we are, a smoke free car, a smoke free home and now Stoptober and a smoke free you.

You didn’t do it on your own.Your families and friends have nudged you in the right direction and the small changes did not become huge challenges and they love you for it.

When you get there though, you still deserve that selfie.

For stop smoking support please contact

Engage on Puffell this Social Media Week


September 14-18 is a Global Social Media Week celebration with conferences in London and across the Globe.

Social Media Week is a leading news platform and worldwide conference that curates and shares the best ideas, innovations and insights into how social media and technology are changing business, society and culture around the world.

Human connectivity is being reimagined and SMW seeks to understand how humanity and technology will come together to change the ways we live, work and create.

At one point this year I was actively engaging on around 12 different social media platforms which as you can imagine takes up a lot of time. Currently I am actively engaging on just 5 including Puffell.

On Puffell you can connect with like-minded people, to support and encourage each other.
Set goals to improve your health, wellbeing and happiness.
Celebrate good things people have done with P-ARKS (Puffell Acts of Random Kindness).
Inspire and be inspired!

Puffell is a place designed for you to live well.

Try a new social media platform this Social Media Week.

Join in at or download the iOS App

Engage with me Michael VJ Jones on Puffell this Social Media Week.


For more information email

What are you doing to promote healthy living in your workspace?

 Workplace Wellbeing

What do we know about routine? We know people who work regular shift patterns tend to develop a routine. Between waking up and going to bed it is likely that they’ll perform the same daily rituals without thought and out of habit. A poor diet and unhealthy lifestyle can far too easily become a part of that routine, and it can be hard to break out of.

Fast and unhealthy food is often easy to prepare and after a long day at work, it can seem like the best option. Sometimes, you may want the easy option and you may want to eat it whilst sitting in front of the TV, watching your favourite show. As fulfilling as it may seem, this lifestyle can be detrimental towards your health in the future.

Given that we spend large parts of our lives at work, we need to be supporting a healthier lifestyle in the work environment. If we don’t do this it can have a detrimental impact on employee health and wellbeing. As an employer, your employees’ health has to be of high importance to you. You can’t force them to exercise or eat right but you can encourage some change. Healthier employees will have a greater focus on their work and as a result they will be a lot more motivated to work hard. This has been perfectly demonstrated recently by the NHS offering Zumba to their staff (

That said, there are many different methods that you can use to promote healthier lifestyles for your employees. One way you could do this for your employees is to start a company sports club; it could be a weekly jog or the odd game of tennis. Creating a form of exercise that your employees can enjoy together makes the task a lot less arduous. It may also boost their desire to do more exercise in their own time. You can even set up a competition as this quite often encourages people to really get involved.

Potluck is a great way to promote healthy eating in the workplace, this is when employees take turns to bring nutritious meals into the workplace for their fellow employees to share. They are less likely to nibble on unhealthy snacks and salty foods during their lunch hour and their appetite will be more fulfilled during the rest of the day.

You can’t force your employees to exercise or eat healthily but incentives always have a magical effect when it comes to motivation. Promoting a fitness challenge in the workplace with monthly rewards will motivate employees to take part, whilst simultaneously drumming up some friendly competition. Seeing the people around you making positive changes is a great influence to follow suit yourself. As an employer, if you set a shining example and promote a healthier lifestyle, you’ll be influencing your employees to do the same.

At ICE we have developed a social media platform called Puffell (, which is a revolutionary new way to promote self care, self-sustainability and wellness. Puffell can act as a great place for employees to go to share and support each other in their journeys towards a healthier lifestyle. The platform allows all of the above to be done in one shared place.

We know one of the key impacts on happiness is healthy social networks, both on and off line and how people join up and how they have the opportunity to interact. Puffell builds on this, encouraging and nurturing appreciative communities in which people not only communicate but are able to form networks where they work together to achieve common goals, for themselves and their wider community. Sounds perfect for getting your workforce to improve their wellbeing.

I know it may not seem like your concern but employee health is very important for you as an employer. An unhealthy lifestyle can lead to health complications for people in the future. Health issues can lead to time off and increased absenteeism and productivity drops when employee numbers are down. Having healthy employees means longevity with regards to motivation and productivity. When in good health, your employees will also be happier.

As an employer you should take the time to check up on your employees’ health and wellbeing and sensitively discuss ways that improvements could be made. Letting your employees know that you care about their wellbeing will make them more likely to respond.
Above all else, good health and wellbeing equals happiness and you should let your employees know this at every opportunity you can.

For more information on Puffell and how to improve wellbeing in your workplace contact

Behaviour Change to reduce harm from smoking

No smoking

The dangers of exposure to second-hand smoke are well documented, with changes to the law making it illegal to smoke in most workplaces and enclosed public spaces in the UK since July 2007. However despite this, the number of smoking households in Britain is increasing every year with significant numbers of adults and children exposed to tobacco in the home.

Whilst traditional stop smoking services have focused on supporting individuals to become smoke free over a 12-week programme, it has been suggested that in line with the reduction of individuals accessing these services, there should be a greater focus on harm reduction and prevention. With local initiatives focused on smoke free parks and school gates and new legislation coming into force in October 2015 making it illegal to smoke in cars carrying children, there is a currently a clear focus on a harm reduction agenda.

The benefits of a smoke free home are immediate. The risk of any child becoming unwell as a result of smoking is reduced, as is the impact on existing conditions such as asthma. The home will smell fresher and feel cleaner and there is a lower likelihood that children within the family home will go on to smoke as adults. Additionally, the risk of a fire starting in a home will also be reduced.

ICE are currently delivering an innovative pilot programme in Coventry primary schools to model the best ways to engage with parents and prompt changes in smoking behaviours as a way of driving quitters, while also supporting harm reduction through a smokefree home.

We are engaging with parents at grass roots level to uncover their key barriers to quitting smoking. Also, we are working in partnership with key stakeholders and individuals across Coventry to facilitate and co-create a range of activities that uncover insights around behaviours, beliefs and values. This insight is allowing us to co-design a sustainable, integrated and community driven model that engages parents and communities to live well and will provide a strong evidence base for similar projects across the country.

ICE are also currently delivering services focused on temporary smoking abstinence in the home through behaviour support; self-help materials and access to a small amount of NRT as a mechanism of harm reduction and also a step on the journey to becoming smoke free.

The services that we offer and the support we are providing is evolving in line with the needs of the individuals we deliver to. Whilst we have supported many people who are ready to quit, we must now think creatively and model services that are tailored to specific harder to reach groups and support individuals to becoming smoke free – even if it is a longer journey.

For more information please contact Graeme Morgan

Your Natural Leaders and Young Natural Leaders

Gunner The Sheep

A new form of leadership and team-building training is taking the business world by storm – using sheepdogs to allow leaders and managers to hone the art of gentle and non-aggressive personnel management. We call it Natural Leaders

By working with the natural elements of shepherding and sheep farming, managers attending the innovative courses in the beautiful Eden Valley Cumbria are able to understand in new ways and then draw their own fresh conclusions about how their beliefs and behaviour in the office, the boardroom, or clinical practice the shop floor, to find the best way forward.

“We don’t tell clients what they need to do or change, they work it out themselves,” says Stuart Jackson, co-founder. “That’s what makes the Your Natural Leaders experience all the more powerful.” “We know this to be true “those who create, own and those who own, use.”DSC_0063

Here are some feedback quotes from people who have taken part in their own natural leaders experience recently:

“Amazing Opportunity to discover more about yourself and how your style and communications impacts on others.” Jayne Pugh – The Lake District National Park Authority

“A dog, some sheep, a field and a whole new way of thinking about communications as a leader.”  Julian Parsons – Buckinghamshire Fire & Rescue Service

“You learn a lot about the type of leaders you are, and how you can improve your interaction with your staff to be a more effective leader.” Paul Holland – Buckinghamshire Fire & Rescue

“The expression “can’t see the wood for the trees” is a good analogy, in that the day helped me to stand back and see the wood and the trees (or the sheep and the dog!) which gave me clarity of vision, sense of purpose, confidence to articulate what I wanted from the team I lead and re-ignited my passion to believe in and get what I want to give me personal professional satisfaction.” Kath Collins – NHS Cheshire and Merseyside Strategic Clinical NetworksDSC_6551

Why Work With Sheep Dogs? 

The benefits of working with dogs and sheep are many:

  • They are non-judgemental (they do not condescend or criticise) – everyone can learn constructively from mistakes and successes
  • They give an immediate response (they don’t discriminate no matter your position at work, and won’t move if they don’t want to, its all about rapport and influence ) – you get instant and honest safe feedback, a perfect mirror for you to learn from.
  • They respond to non-verbal communication – meaning you learn how to make your message clear through your movements, posture, body language, and tone of voice (you already do this at work and at home, understanding your impact at this level is very empowering)
  • They reward your efforts once you have earned your authority and their respect – encouraging and developing leadership through rapport, respect and trust, not power and authority. It is truly remarkable.


The Your Natural Leaders Working Sheepdog Experience uses a unique combination of talent from the world of leadership, change specialists and sheepdog trialling.

Your Natural Leaders invites delegates to consider their own experience, styles and impacts from totally different perspectives. In every session people are surprised by their own capacity to generate new, powerful and useful ideas, insights and models about their own experience as leaders and mangers. Understand new  insights of why, how and what they might move and change their models, strategies and tactics in the work place.DSC_5798

Surprisingly, a large number of people also find positive impacts for their personal lives too. Later sessions allow peers to support each other to explore how to deploy new behaviours in a safe way and build them around existing beliefs, both on the field and in the briefing and de-briefing sessions in our newly purpose-built Natural Leaders learning facility.








Here are some insights from a team while reflecting one week after their Natural Leaders training day:

“When people really connected they worked well together.”DSC_0297

“Learnt from other people’s mistakes to enable people herding the sheep later to adapt their technique.” We have now started to apply this in our daily work:-)

“In terms of gaining the dogs respect learnt we need to direct appropriately, be really clear, assertive and give direction.”

For Leadership Development for the under 30’s we have developed YOUNG NATURAL LEADERS which specifically focuses on the leadership development needs of younger leaders.DSC_0036DSC_0252







To find out more about how you can get incredible value and a lasting experience that will truly make a positive difference and generatelasting outcomes from your training budget contact our team:

Your Natural Leaders

Young Natural Leaders

Visit and #MakeBetterHappen

Join Public Health England and others using an innovative new digital wellness ecosystem

Puffell Banner Stand Image

Your organisation can join Public Health England and others using an innovative new digital wellness ecosystem

We would like to say a Big Thank You to everyone who visited our stand at the Health + Care Commissioning Show 2015 at the ExCeL in London this June. The feedback we had about Puffell and how it is at the forefront of supporting people to live well was incredible.

Delegates explored how Puffell has been designed in partnership to support personalisation, prevention, wellbeing and integration and how our partners are redesigning communities to be less dependent on services.

They explored how organisations are accessing rich, anonymised, up-to-date, “right now” lifestyle data that is helping reduce the burden of illness, loss of aspiration and is being used to support growth, prosperity and happiness.

Puffell sits within a CIC and is helping public services around the country to:

– Recognise wellbeing patterns

– Predict lifestyle determinants

– Create proactive services

– Support asset based community development

– Create effective and efficient services

At the conference, Mahesh Patel head of online services at Public Health England, praised our partners who are developing innovative tools on Puffell and using it to encourage healthy lifestyles, self care and living well.

“We know that the only way that we can deliver efficient behaviour change is through working in partnership with Puffell and others and working through the local delivery system,” Mahesh Patel, Public Health England

Contact us to find out how organisations like yours are using Puffell to make better happen and how you can be part of this transformational partnership.

Visti or email us at

With thanks

The Puffell Team

The Student Experience Journey

Friends Selfie In the Park

It’s the time of year when A level papers have all been sat and the thoughts of the students turn firmly towards results day and the all important grades.

For Universities however the hard work in respect of new students started a long time ago. From outreach and recruitment work, through to open days, applications processing, places offered, the student journey into Higher Education starts months and even years before the student even considers where they may continue their studies.

Once enrolled and they appear on campus with tearful parents in tow and boxes and bags filled to the brim of essential supplies, the student enters a period of change and the hard work begins. For the University there is so much more behind the scenes that supports them as they embark on their journey.

ICE Creates have worked with Universities to promote and transform the student experience through enhancing recruitment, improving admissions and finance processes, providing vital support with pastoral services such as accommodation, wellbeing and counseling, extenuating circumstances processing, timeouts, transfers & withdrawals, ICT support services, award board and exam board administration through to employability and alumni services, we understand the importance of ensuring a seamless programme between academic and professional services to provide not only the best possible outcomes for the University but most importantly for the student.

Using our tried and tested 7Es transformation model with its roots grounded in the principles of LEAN Systems Thinking, we have supported organisations to take a holistic view of the Higher Education journey and significantly improve outcomes for all stakeholders.

7 E's Model-02

We believe that change and continuous improvement comes from within, “those who create own…those who own use and grow”.

One of our recent partners commissioned ICE to support them in transferring skills to their own staff to enable them to continue to review and improve services across the organisation. Delivering a bespoke programme of training, facilitation and support we have helped them to deliver such efficiencies as:

  • More timely service to the students
  • Reduced chasing time for missing information / evidence
  • Less time spent at EC panels.
  • Significant cashable savings to reinvest in student services
  • Allowing the university to successfully plan, manage and maintain ICT assets
  • Fully able and trained facilitators of change an improvement

Staff now feel that they are able to offer a more student focussed and holistic service and as such have increased satisfaction rates and retention across the organisation. Across the organisation the feedback is exceptional with staff stating that they have a renew sense of “working together”

“I have been working with a team of nine people from teams within Academic Services and Student Partnership Services who are directly involved in the current process and those who are from unrelated areas.

It’s a team effort and it’s always process first and foremost before any kind of experimentation with solutions”.

It has proved to be a truly refreshing experience for those involved:

“Personally I’ve found it a really refreshing experience (even if it’s just to look at someone else’s problem for a change)!

I have found that the method of taking a good, hard, realistic look at a particular issue, examining it from a purely process focused point of view and identifying its core value points is really effective.

That is followed up with an open minded approach to testing what might work as a possible solution and to then permanently put those improvements into standard working practice. It’s a lot of concentrated work but it’s also a chance to work with new faces in different areas and really affect change for the better”.

And using our tested methodology has truly embedded anew way of working for the university:

“The methodology has been adopted by the Strategic Programmes Office initially but will hopefully spread across the organisation and particularly in our customer engagements.

Do expect to hear the LEAN buzz word more as the year progresses as this will be forming the cornerstone of the new way of working. I would encourage anyone who is able to get involved with a lean review as and when the opportunity is presented or put themselves forward to take part”.

If you would be interested in talking to our expert Practitioners and learning more please contact Chris Lunn or Rachel Stamp to learn more.

GET MON£YSMART campaign is a big winner on the night

ICE_and_Rochdale_MBC_Nudge_Awards_2015 v2

We are thrilled to announce that ICE’s GET MON£YSMART campaign for Rochdale Borough Council has been awarded a silver Nudgey in the Health category at the world’s first behaviour change awards. The Nudge Awards were developed by Ogilvy Change, part of international advertising, marketing and PR agency Ogilvy & Mather, to recognise standards of excellence in the behavioural science community. North West based ICE were one of just two companies – and the only British organisation – recognised in the Health category.

The prestigious event was attended by experts, practitioners, students and entrepreneurs and proved to be a great opportunity to learn from the best in behavioural science, with speakers including Richard Thaler, Paul Dolan and Rory Sutherland.

GET MON£YSMART aimed to positively influence the lifestyle choices and spending decisions of local people by engaging, educating and empowering them to make small, gradual changes to unhealthy lifestyle behaviours. These included spending on smoking, alcohol, takeaways, shisha and fixed-odds betting terminals.

Feedback from local partners and stakeholders indicates that the campaign has helped to increase awareness and access to community support services (e.g. stop smoking services, alcohol outreach, healthy weight team, financial inclusion champions, Citizens Advice Bureau) among target groups.

When asked ‘Have you done anything to save money or change how you spend / manage your money as a result of the campaign?’ almost a quarter (22.9%) of survey respondents who could recall the campaign (unprompted and prompted) said that they had made actual changes to their behaviour, such as spending decisions, lifestyle choices and budgeting.

Helen Skidmore, Public Health Manager at Rochdale Borough Council said: “I am delighted that GET MON£YSMART has won a Silver Nudge award for health related behaviour change. ICE created an innovative and eye catching campaign from our brief on linking small lifestyles changes to financial savings, which is really supporting local people in this tough economic climate.”

The awards were extremely well received and served to highlight and recognise the many ways in which various individuals and companies apply behavioural science. Huge congratulations to all of the winners, especially Warren Hatter and Ealing Council who won the Grand Prix award for their work with homelessness.

We would like to say a big thank you to Rochdale Borough Council and all of our partners for their fantastic support throughout this campaign. To find out more about ICE’s behavioural insight service contact Benjamin Buckby


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