Francesca Okosi talks exclusively to Personnel Today about the challenges ahead for the Society of Chief Personnel Officers and outlines how a new qualification and improved alliances will spearhead the organisation's modernisation plans, by Paul Nelson
The continual restructuring of public services will see a radical overhaul of local government HR body the Society of Chief Personnel Officers (Socpo) next year.
Socpo's ambitious change agenda includes launching a local government professional qualification in HR, a possible merger with its Scottish equivalent and entering into strategic partnerships with the Government, unions, employer groups and public sector bodies.
Socpo president Francesca Okosi said the organisation had approached academic institutes, including Warwick University and Henley Management College, to accredit and facilitate its HR in local government qualification. It is being adapted from the course run by the American public sector HR body, the International Personnel Managers Association.
Okosi told Personnel Today the qualification was central to Socpo's strategy of increasing its membership.
The society expects to start offering the qualification in 12 months and aims to extend it to include an HR public sector qualification in due course, with NHS counterparts The Association of Healthcare Human Resource Management (AHHRM) already expressing an interest.
The qualification will be module-based, focusing on organisational development, leadership and making HR strategic.
Okosi said the qualification would probably take between 18 months and two years to complete, and it will not involve technical HR skills, as students should have already learned these from the CIPD's qualification.
Socpo is having discussions with the CIPD about sponsoring and/or supporting the course.
"I want to have a comprehensive career development planner (CDP) so we can begin to form a career structure in local government and members can really further their careers. It is my baby and I intend to see it through to the end," Okosi said.
Socpo will launch the qualification to members at its annual co