Top job: David Screen, head of HR, Derbyshire Constabulary

Where did you work before?

I worked at the Prison Service HQ in London as the programme director for a major people change programme. My role involved looking after reward, performance, development, diversity and new HR services, working with the Prison Service Shared Service Centre.

What qualifications do you hold?

Chartered fellow of the CIPD, fellow of the Royal Meteorological Society, and a diploma in management studies and programme management.

What are the duties in your new role?

Delivering a modern and customer-led HR service that will clearly support Derbyshire Police to continue to deliver a good service to the county. I have a team of 130 and I report to assistant chief constable (support).

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

To prove our value – otherwise why have us around? Second, learning to say yes – finding business solutions for our customers. And third, delivery, brevity and clarity in everything we do.

What is the essential tool in your job?

Judgement, from knowing and understanding the people and the business.

And the most overrated?

Competence models – they’re seen as the solution to life, the universe and everything.

What are the worst things about HR?

Not delivering, being long-winded, and being confused about our purpose.

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

Being squeezed in the back seat of a police vehicle with two other officers while being driven at high speed with flashing lights and sirens around Derby, racing to handle a situation at a Saturday football crowd.

Who is your ultimate hero?

David Lawrence, a surgeon at the London Heart Hospital. He put his hand in my chest, took out my heart, fixed it, and put it back in again – it’s all working well now, thanks.

What is the most annoying piece of management jargon?

Strategy – why is everything a strategy when usually it’s just a plan?

How do you fill your spare time?

I throw money into a black hole in the water that others might call a boat.

What three words best describe you?

Complex, confident, cheerful.

What is your favourite web page?


What song gets you on the dance floor?

Come on Eileen induces nausea and spontaneous self-harm.

What is your worst habit?

Interrupting others and not listening enough.

What is the greatest risk you have ever taken?

Being myself at job interviews.

Who would play you in the film of your life?

Shrek. He has vision, clear objectives, tries to be a good team leader, and we are both the same weight.

Sum up your philosophy on life in one sentence.

Try to be cheerful because being miserable never helps, and if that’s impossible, then do something about it.

Screen’s CV

  • Feb 2007-present: Head of HR, Derbyshire Constabulary

  • Oct 2005-Feb 2007: Change manager and people strategy programme director, Prison Service HQ

  • Mar 2003-Oct 2005: Head of HR, Feltham Young Offenders Institution

  • Mar 2001-Mar 2003: Relocation HR manager, Met Office

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