What is your new role and what will your duties be?
From March, I will be UK HR director for the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), where I’ll be working on an HR modernisation programme, driving out inefficiencies from the service. I’ll also be leading the ongoing review, development, implementation and delivery of HR strategy and policy, systems and procedures. I’ll be providing strategic and operational central HR services to the HSE and its 4,000 staff. I will also be responsible for a £7m budget and about 92 staff.
Where are you working currently?
I have been at Knowsley as the head of HR for 11 years. My current role also incorporates responsibility for HR within Merseyside Police Authority. Prior to that, I was the head of personnel at Bryant & May, a match manufacturer in south Liverpool.
What qualifications do you hold?
I am a fellow of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development and am qualified in occupational testing.
What do you hope to achieve in your new role?
I need to make sure that the employees on the front line of HSE’s business are suitably equipped to ensure that risks to people’s health and safety from work activities are properly controlled.
What challenges does HR face in the next five years?
Efficiencies are key with Gershon and budget pressures, change management, organisational and workforce development.
What advice would you give to people starting out in HR?
Be flexible and approachable – always challenge the status quo.
What is the worst thing about HR?
The suggestion that it is a support service or back-office function – we need to shout our value from the rooftops.
What is the strangest situation you have been in at work?
When an employee we were dismissing attempted to jump from my sixth floor office window – myself and the regional union official talked him down.
What are the essential tools in your job?
Resilience and flexibility.
Who is your ultimate guru?
Paul McGee is inspiring me at present with his Sumo [Shut up, Move on] book.
What is the most annoying management jargon?
Talent management. Everyone is talented in their own way – it just needs nurturing.
What is your essential TV viewing?
Judge John Deeds and Spooks.
Who would you most dislike to work with?
Austin Powers or Mr Bean.
How do you fill your spare time?
Motorcycling, reading, gym, and my two children.
What is the greatest risk you have ever taken?
Last weekend I went swimming off a beach in north Wales – the sea temperature must have been around two degrees.
What is your most popular website?
Google – I use it constantly.
What was the last book you read?
Long Walk to Freedom by Nelson Mandela.
What song gets you on the dance floor?
Simply the Best by Tina Turner, as the Bryant & May employees sang this to me and the operations director at our leaving party.
What would be your dream job?
I think I’ve just got it.
Who would you most like to be stuck in a lift with?
Sting – he could sing to me all night.
1995-2006: Head of corporate HR, Knowsley Metropolitan Borough Council and Merseyside Police Authority
1995-1996: Head of personnel, education department, Knowsley Metropolitan Borough Council
1989-1995: Head of personnel, Bryant & May