HR Leaders Council set up to drive change across Whitehall

A ‘council’ of HR directors from a range of government departments has been set up to help drive change across Whitehall.

The HR Leaders’ Council is the brainchild of Gill Rider, director-general of leadership and people strategy and head of HR for the Civil Service.

The council has 42 members from the main government departments and large delivery agencies, as well as representatives from a sample of other departments. It aims to build an HR profession which improves performance, drives change and tackles the people issues affecting the government’s work.

Speaking exclusively to Personnel Today, Rider said the council was a “very powerful network” for helping the Civil Service improve and develop.

The council met for the first time last month at the National School of Government in Sunningdale, the government’s business school. Topics covered included performance management, employee engagement, people strategy and skills, Rider said.

Civil service HR has repeatedly come under fire over the past year following several waves of Whitehall capability reviews. HR, people management and skills gaps have emerged as common problem areas for departments.

“All the HR directors at the meeting would agree that we do need to step up to become strategic,” Rider said. “There is a real energy about the opportunity to do something different, to bring the profession together, share best practice and support one another.”

Rider joined the Civil Service in May 2006 after many years at global consultancy Accenture. It was the first time the head of HR role had been filled by someone who had not been a career civil servant.

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