Top job: David Bell

David Bell, head of HR, NHS Litigation Authority

What is your new role?

Head of HR at the NHS Litigation Authority.

Where were you working before and what were your duties?

Barts and The London NHS Trust. I was an HR manager and consultant, most recently working on the employment issues in relation to the largest NHS private finance initiative project.

What qualifications do you hold?

I’m a chartered member of the CIPD.

What are the duties in your new role?

To manage the performance and direction of the authority’s HR functions. To ensure HR systems and policies comply with good practice, corporate governance and employment law requirements, and to advise on all employment law and organisational development issues. I’m
the only HR practitioner in a new role in the organisation, and I report to the finance director.

What do you hope to achieve in your new role?

To raise the profile of HR and good people management in the organisation.

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

To keep ahead of legal developments and to continue to justify its existence.

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

It’s all about common sense and treating people with respect.

What is the essential tool in your job?

Talking to people.

And the most overrated?


What is the worst thing about HR?

Breaking bad news.

What is the strangest situation you have been  in at work?

Nothing surprises me anymore.

Who is your ultimate guru?


What is the most annoying piece of management jargon?

‘You need to understand that…’

What is your essential TV viewing?

Desperate Housewives.

Who would you least like to work with?

Someone who really doesn’t want to be there.

How do you fill your spare time?

Travelling, reading, watching too much news on the television.

What is the greatest risk you have ever taken?

Leaving a secure post with nothing to go to.

What is your most popular web page?

The BBC.

What was the last book you read?

Berlin by Pierre Frei.

What song gets you on the dance floor?

Anything, but only if there’s a very persuasive dance partner asking.

What would be your dream job?

I’ve just got it.

Who would play you in the film of your life and why?

Jake Gyllenhaal, because I’m deluded.

What is the best office party you have ever attended?

We had some wild times when I was an accountant in the 1980s.

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

A lift engineer.

Bell’s CV

March 2001-February 2006  HR manager/consultant, Barts and The London NHS Trust

December 1999-March 2001  Personnel officer, Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge

February 1996-December 1999  Personnel officer, Corporation of London

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