Top job: Alison Levy

What is your new role?

I am director of HR and organisational development at Crime Reduction Initiatives (CRI), a crime prevention charity based in Brighton. I have a team of three HR advisers, one HR manager and three HR assistants. I am also responsible for the training and communications functions.

Where were you working before and what were your duties?

I was head of employee relations at Sussex Police. I looked after employment law and policy, diversity units, and also provided a full employee relations service across the force.

What qualifications do you hold?

I’m a member of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD), currently being assessed for fellow membership. I’m also studying for a paralegal qualification.

What are the duties in your new role?

To provide the HR and organisational development strategy to enable CRI to continue its growth; to ensure all HR systems across the organisation are compliant and support CRI for the future; and to produce and implement performance management programmes for all line management to build leadership capability to support the culture, objectives and direction for the organisation. I also provide guidance on employment law to the senior management team, and am responsible for the training and communications functions.

What do you hope to achieve in your new role?

I aim to raise the profile of the HR function and ensure there are excellent systems in place for ongoing management development and leadership focus.

What are the challenges HR faces in the next five years?

To try to keep updated on all aspects of employment law and legal developments, as well as proving the HR function isn’t just for the production of contracts of employment.

What advice would you give to people starting out in HR?

Get some practical experience and get the CIPD qualification after you have spent at least two years in an HR role. It’s important to have some solid generalist HR experience to build your confidence and eventually help you deal with more complex HR issues.

What is the essential tool in your job?

Common sense.

And the most overrated?

Balanced scorecards.

What is the worst thing about HR?

Having a reputation for being the ‘poor relative’ of the service functions in an organisation. But I’m pleased to say that this is no longer the case at CRI.

Who is your ultimate guru?

Sir John Harvey Jones.

What is the most annoying piece of management jargon?

‘I hear what you’re saying, but …’

Who would you least like to work with?
David Brent from The Office

How do you fill your spare time?

DIY, walking my dog, being my daughter’s taxi driver and bank, badminton and studying for my paralegal qualification.

What is your most popular web page?

Legal 500 and the Department of Trade and Industry.

What was the last book you read?

Churchill, by John Keegan.

What song gets you on the dance floor?

Sad I know, but anything by Abba.

Who would you most like to be stuck in a lift with?

David Attenborough (hero of mine) and Joaquin Phoenix (for the view).


Oct 2005 to present – director of HR and OD, CRI
Sept 2003 to Oct 2005 – head of employee relations, Sussex Police
July 2001 to Sept 2003 – HR consultant, Royal & SunAlliance
March 2000 to July 2001 – Personnel manager, Express Dairies

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