Public Sector People Managers’ Association president calls for collaboration

Public Sector People Managers’ Association conference, 28-30 March, Hilton Metropole, Brighton

New Public Sector People Managers’ Association president Phil Badley has called for greater co-operation between local councils, and for public sector HR professionals to be leaders in developing talent.

In his opening address at the association’s annual conference in Brighton, Badley said councils would increasingly “put down their arrows and start collaborating with neighbours”.

He cited the example of Greater Manchester, where some recruitment functions are shared between the 10 councils. But they still “have 10 HR directors and 10 payroll systems”, said Badley, assistant director at Stockport Metropolitan Borough Council.

He warned public sector HR professionals to be cautious about how and what they outsource. “Councils tend to outsource when something is a problem, rather than because there is any business benefit to it,” he said.

The conference opened bizarrely with delegates playing bongos together – an exercise that Badley said illustrated what could be done as a team.

“There was an obedience to the rhythm in here today, but is there a bass drum in your organisation?” he asked.

He also said succession planning was increasingly crucial in public sector HR.

“We must be seen as leaders in developing our own talent. Like it or not, the career path within the profession is changing rapidly. The traditional ‘head of profession’ role may still be around, but its status and significance in the organisation is being replaced by a range of more strategic skills and knowledge,” Badley said.

“Some are stepping up to the plate others are getting left behind. We must do more to develop our own talent to meet this challenge.”

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