What is your new role?
Assistant chief executive – organisation/development and communication at Sheffield City Council.
Where were you working before, and what were your duties?
I was head of HR at City of York Council. I was responsible for the strategic direction of HR management and development for the council, as well as the operational HR support to the directorates and services.
What qualifications do you hold?
A business studies degree, a masters degree in policy studies, and I’m a chartered member of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development.
What are the duties in your new role?
I’m responsible for leading the organisational development and communications functions for the council. I am also responsible for keeping the workforce aware of developments, as well as the branding and image of the authority. I will report to the chief executive and be supported by a team of about 90 people.
What do you hope to achieve in your new role?
To build on the substantial successes the council has already achieved. I want to demonstrate, both within the council and externally, how proactive organisational development can add value.
What are the challenges HR faces in the next five years?
To show that HR can add value at all levels of an organisation, and that it is a genuine ‘first-team’ profession alongside the other, more widely recognised big hitters.
What advice would you give to people starting out in HR?
Always remember that HR is about supporting the business to achieve its objectives. Never miss the opportunity to demonstrate the value that HR can add to bottom-line results.
What is the essential tool in your job?
A sound understanding of what the organisation is trying to achieve. Without a solid strategic focus, HR is relegated to the role of a support function carrying out transactional activity.
And the most overrated?
What is the worst thing about HR?
The expectation from some that HR will act as an ’emergency service’ or last resort.
What is the strangest situation you have been in at work?
I once conducted a job interview with an old-fashioned, ‘starchy’ manager called Mr Green. As chairman of the interview panel, he insisted on referring to me as Mr Green. By coincidence, one of the candidates was also a Mr Green. He must have thought it was some sort of test when the chairman said: “Hello Mr Green. I’m Mr Green, the manager of the service, and this is Mr Green from personnel.” It seemed more like a Monty Python sketch than an interview.
What is your essential TV viewing?
What song gets you on the dance floor?
Hi-Ho Silver Lining.
Who would play you in the film of your life?
Adrian Lester – Mickey Bricks in Hustle. I’d just like people to think I was really that cool.
Who would you most like to be stuck in a lift with?
The person I’d most like to be stuck in a lift with is my partner, Wendy. We’re both very busy and at least it would mean we were in the same room for a time.
The person I’d least like to be stuck in a lift with is my partner, Wendy. She can talk for England – she’d wear me out with questions about how we were going to escape.
- November 2006: Assistant chief executive – organisation/development and communication, Sheffield City Council
- October 2003 – October 2006: Head of HR, City of York Council
- June 2002 – September 2003: Head of HR, Hull City Council
- December 1999 – June 2002: Head of HR, Doncaster Metropolitan Borough Council
- April 1996 – November 1999: Senior HR adviser, North Lincolnshire Council
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