PT Awards profile: Ellie Goddard, East Sussex County Council

HR Newcomer of the Year Ellie Goddard collects her trophy
Ellie Goddard collects her trophy for HR Newcomer of the Year in 2013

Ellie Goddard was not only considered a worthy award winner in the HR newcomer category of the Personnel Today Awards last year; she was also named a “rising star” by the Public Sector People Managers’ Association, the HR body for the public sector.

When nominating her for the award, her colleagues at East Sussex County Council described her as “outshining all other stars in the HR cosmos in every way” and predicted that she will become a future HR leader.

Goddard began her career at the council in 2011 in the role of HR adviser. One of her first projects was an initiative to improve attendance across the council, and through this she was exposed to council members, directors, trade unions and managers.

In 2012, she was promoted to a broader HR role, where she could acquire knowledge and experience of HR policies and practices. During this time, she took personal responsibility for championing the council’s equalities agenda, as well as its employee awards and annual Managers’ Conference.

She is now a senior HR adviser, with a specific focus on supporting the county’s 190 schools and 7,000 school employees. Many of these schools are in the middle of changing to academy status, which requires extensive changes to staff terms and conditions.

Her achievements have included creating a new electronic absence management system that connects school management information with the council’s SAP HR system. She has also created a dedicated recruitment support team, and revised the council’s recruitment advertising strategy to complement the introduction of e-recruitment.

In addition, Goddard has played a key role in streamlining how her own department works. She came up with a training regime to support her fellow HR advisers in new ways of working, and has organised a series of fundraising events for local charities to boost team spirit.

Customer service has been a further focus for Goddard; she has been instrumental in establishing the concept of customer service “champions” at the council and coming up with ways to improve training.

Despite her relatively short career to date, she is a strong influencer who is not afraid to challenge her colleagues, whatever their level in the business.

East Sussex County Council’s chief executive Becky Shaw describes Goddard as “quite simply outstanding”, saying: “She has intellectual rigour, a genuine understanding of people and business, all held together with natural charm and warmth, and an ability to deliver.”

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