Top job: Gillian Hibberd, corporate director, people and policy, Buckinghamshire County Council

Where were you working before and what were your duties?

My previous role was at Buckinghamshire County Council, where I led the organisational development and human resources teams for the organisation.

What qualifications do you hold?

BSc in European Studies MSc in Human Resource Management and Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development.

What are the duties in your new role?

To lead HR, organisational development, policy, performance and partnerships. I manage a team of 150 people, and report to the chief executive.

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

To develop leadership capability across the organisation.

What is the essential tool in your job?

My fantastic personal assistant.

And the most overrated?

Long meetings. They drive me crazy.

What is the worst thing about HR?

Having to deal with jokers who refer to the profession as the ‘hatred and retribution service’, or ‘human remains service’.

What are the strangest situations you have ever been in at work?

Dismissing someone for selling gravestones and pocketing the money viewing unsavoury videos and reading explicit e-mails in disciplinary situations picking up a very senior manager who had fallen over drunk at an office party – I could go on.

Who are your heroes?

HR chiefs Alan Warner from Hertfordshire County Council, and Angela O’Connor from the National Policing Improvement Agency.

What is the most annoying piece of management jargon?

‘We need to be more strategic’.

How do you fill your spare time?

Spending time with my five-year-old daughter, and visiting Menorca.

What three words would you use to describe yourself?

Driven, encouraging and fun-loving.

What song gets you on the dance floor?

Don’t Feel Like Dancin’, by the Scissor Sisters.

What is your worst habit?


What is the greatest risk you have ever taken?

Leaving Manchester, my family and friends when I moved down to the south of England.

What three items would you take with you on a desert island?

A crate of wine, a pair of high heels and some music.

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

Helen Mirren – I hope I look that good when I reach my 60s.

Sum up your philosophy on life in one sentence.

Work hard, play hard.


Sep 2007-present
Corporate director, people and policy, Buckinghamshire County Council

Oct 2005-Sep 2007
Corporate director, organisational development and HR, Buckinghamshire County Council

Oct 1999-Oct 2005
Assistant director, HR, Hertfordshire County Council

Jun 1997-Oct 1999
Principal HR manager, London Borough of Hackney

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