1 April 2014

Social business, the Timewise Foundation has launched an accreditation programme designed to help local authorities become more flexible, both as employers themselves and as key influencers of other employers in their area.

Timewise Council status will be awarded to local authorities that commit to becoming more flexible as employers, meeting the future challenges of a changing workforce.

Flexible working in this context can mean home working, part-time working, condensed hours, job shares, job splits or indeed any form of unconventional working, the Foundation explained.

Co-founder Emma Stewart said: "This is about being mindful of imminent changes in the way we work, and supporting local government to meet those challenges head on. Local authorities are often the largest employers in their communities. They also procure £62 billion worth of goods and services, and as such hold a key position of influence amongst other employers."

The path to accreditation will be agreed through a collaborative process between Timewise and a given local authority which will commit to a six-point improvement plan.

This involves setting goals and activities, such as increasing the number of jobs a council advertises with flexible working options, or clarifying the messages it sends to the local business community with regard to flexible working.

Camden has become the first Timewise Council.

Council Leader Sarah Hayward said: "We have worked hard over the past six months to ensure that everyone has an equal opportunity to find jobs and progress in their careers, no matter what their pattern of work."