Case study: Understanding public sector recruitment challenges

Public Sector

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Discover how we used our skill in survey design and analysis to help Public Practice understand the needs of their users.

Public Practice is a social enterprise supporting local government to develop the capabilities of their planning teams. Their services include recruitment support, a learning and development programme, peer support, case studies and networking events. Their users include people working in regeneration, conservation, urban design, planning policy, highways and transport, and property development.Our work with Nightingale is helping us to better understand our local authority users’ needs. We look forward to using the data to capture the changing context of public sector recruitment year on year. - Public Practice

The need

Public Practice wanted to gather an accurate understanding of the skills needed and the recruitment challenges faced by local government officers. This insight would enable them to shape their services around the needs of their users.

Nightingale's approach and methods

We worked collaboratively with the team at Public Practice to design an easy-to-complete online questionnaire. Ensuring a quality user experience for the respondent is key to achieving a high response rate.

The survey was live for one month and publicised through Public Practice's online networks. 

The 2022 survey attracted a total of 633 participants, which represents a good proportion of the audience Public Practice were trying to reach.

We cleaned and analysed the quantitative data gathered in the survey using a combination of summative and inferential statistics to quantify high level findings and identify underlying trends. We also used a Grounded Theory approach to analyse the qualitative comments invited at the end of the survey to provide both context and depth to the quantitative findings. 

We detailed the findings in a report, highlighting the key insights and qualitative themes the research had uncovered, which Public Practice have since used to help guide strategic planning, provide evidence to support bids for further funding and generally improve the visibility of the challenges which they are helping address.

The Nightingale team were great to work with, sharing their user research expertise with clear communication at each stage of the project. They are quick to respond to our queries and always friendly. 

We have continued working with Public Practice, creating, running and analysing a second iteration of the survey in early 2023 to ensure they have up to date evidence and track year-on-year changes in the place shaping sector. 

You can find the results of the surveys here:

Results of 2022 survey:

Results of 2023 survey:


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