Lancashire FRS (LFRS) were running an Assessment Centre for future middle managers. As they had not run one at this level for a while, the needs of the Service had changed and they needed new exercises with which to assess candidates.

Key requirements

LFRS had decided they would like to use a presentation, a report and a multiple roleplay exercise. In order to save costs they hoped that existing VCA exercise toolkits could be altered to reflect their format preference and also incorporate specific current organisational issues.


Our solution


We looked at our existing exercises in comparison to the issues that LFRS specifically wanted included. We listed which exercise would match with which elements from their list of preferred issues. Many of these were behavioural considerations rather than specific topics, which tied in well with existing exercises. By using existing toolkits with slight amendments we could supply exactly what the FRS required but at a fraction of the cost of exercises being designed from scratch. The main change was in the multiple roleplay. We re-wrote this to include the presentation elements which LFRS required, whilst also retaining best practice by having the ‘audience’ as scripted actors (3 roles) who interacted with all candidates with controlled and consistent comments and questions.


The process


We worked with subject matter experts who answered a few short questions. We then made sure the themes reported in these interviews about the key issues facing LFRS were covered by the exercises we were proposing for them.




lFRS used the multiple roleplay/ presentation, in-basket exercise (report style items) and one to one roleplay to assess for Middle Managers. These exercises covered all of the organisational issues and assessed the competency/ behavioural elements identified as crucial for future managers at this level.