Top job: Jane McLeod, head of HR, Lancashire County Council

Jane McLeod has returned to Lancashire County Council as head of HR. One of her first tasks will be to tackle a far-reaching pay and grading review as required by the Employers’ Organisation for local government.

Where were you working before, and what were your duties?

I was head of personnel at Blackpool Borough Council, responsible for employee relations, HR policy and strategy, health and safety, training and development, research and information, and recruitment and selection.

What qualifications do you hold?

BA Hons. in English, FCIPD, MBA from Henley Management College.

What do you hope to achieve in your new role?

A comprehensive pay and grading review, and a review of the structure and functions of HR. I also want to achieve the delivery of an excellent service to my colleagues and customers.

Which aspects are you most looking forward to?

I am looking forward to building on my previous achievements as corporate change manager at Lancashire, and raising the profile of HR within the council.

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

Being asked whether our equalities policy meant that female applicants would be considered for the job of Father Christmas in the shopping precinct.

How do you think the role of HR will change over the next five years?

The role needs to become much more strategic. It needs to be able to demonstrate added value to the organisation through improved performance and outcomes, and those working in HR need to be role models and change agents.

What is your essential viewing?

Coronation Street and Footballers’ Wives.

What’s best about HR?

The variety; the way it cuts across all departments and disciplines and makes the difference between success and failure in achieving an organisation’s vision and goals.

And worst?

HR people who are so obsessed with following procedures that they are inflexible in meeting their customers’ needs.

What is the greatest risk you have ever taken?

Jumping on a scooter in Bermuda without any lessons. I crashed into a wall – it made me appreciate the importance of risk assessment and training!

What is the essential tool in your job?

Common sense.

And the most over-rated?

The computer – I sometimes feel they prevent us from talking to each other and using our brains.

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

Get experience in front-line service delivery or line management first. It will give you an understanding of how HR can help or hinder staff and managers, and greater credibility in your dealings with them.

What is your ideal job?

A presenter on the Holiday programme.

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

Madonna – she knows what she wants and she usually gets it.

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

Brad Pitt.

Mcleod’s CV

2004 Head of HR, Lancashire County Council

2003 Head of personnel, Blackpool Borough Council

2000 Corporate change manager, Lancashire County Council

1990 Central training officer, Lancashire County Council

1986 Head of training and development, Bolton Metropolitan Borough Council

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