Socpo opens door to central government HR

EXCLUSIVE by Paul Nelson

Local council HR body Socpo is opening up membership to central government
personnel professionals in an effort to increase HR’s voice in public sector
modernisation.

Mary Mallett, set to become Socpo president next week, told Personnel Today
that the move is critical if Socpo is to have a voice during the public service
reforms.

Socpo has been invited to sit on the Public Service Employers’ Forum and it
wants to take maximum advantage by championing the importance of HR issues in
service reform – including staff morale, performance management and
organisational development.

Discussions between Socpo and senior civil service HR professionals have
begun and Mallett – strategic director (organ-isation and development) at Kent
County Council – expects a firm proposal within the year.

Central government has no HR body, but Mallett believes the issues affecting
both sectors are so similar, Socpo can represent both.

"We have so much in common due to the modernisation agenda. We are both
delivering public services that are often very sensitive: child protection,
benefits and immigration," she said.

Mallett said that the similarity between services is one of the main reasons
Socpo has seen a number of its senior members cross over to the civil service
in recent years – including its current president, Francesca Okosi.

Okosi, former HR director at Brent Council, this year became director of
change at environmental agency Defra. Her move follows Angela O’Connor’s switch
from head of personnel at Enfield Council to HR director of the Crown
Prosecution Service, and former president Susan Thomas to HR director at the
Department for Education and Skills.

Socpo’s annual conference in Brighton runs 12-14 March.

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