Top job: Lucasta Grayson, head of human resources and development, Crawley Borough Council

Where were you working before and what were your duties?

I was an HR manager for Croydon Council, setting up an employee relations consultancy service for five departments.

What qualifications do you hold?

BA Hons degree in politics and CIPD qualification.

What are the duties in your current role?

To provide an HR, learning and development and equalities and diversity service to the council. We have 800 staff providing a wide range of local services all with differing needs. I report to the chief executive.

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

We have a large number of highly skilled staff approaching retirement over the next five to 10 years and real recruitment and retention difficulties in the same areas as a result of national skill shortages. The main challenge is to manage the talent that we have and grow our own future workforce.

What is the essential tool in your job?

Emotional intelligence.

And the most over-rated?

HR ‘metrics’.

What is the worst thing about HR?

People thinking that you should be doing their job for them.

Who is your ultimate hero?

Nelson Mandela.

What is the most annoying piece of management jargon?

‘Thought showers’ – what’s wrong with ‘brainstorm’?

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

Being in a makeshift bunker, helping to organise rest centres during an emergency planning exercise.

What three words would you use to describe yourself?

Calm, persuasive and optimistic.

What is your favourite web page?

What is your worst habit?

Having to make lists of everything. My memory is not what it used to be.

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

A good book, a bottle of wine and my husband.

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

Jennifer Saunders – because you have to be able to laugh at yourself.

What is the best office party you’ve ever attended?

My leaving do from Croydon Council. I was with the organisation for 17 years. There was an office party with speeches, pressies, a few tears and a meal with close friends and colleagues. It was a lovely way to say goodbye.

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

Eddie Izzard, as he would make me laugh.

Sum up your philosophy on life in one sentence.

Always look on the bright side of life.


  • Apr 2007-present Head of HR and development, Crawley Borough Council
  • May 2005-Apr 2007 HR manager, corporate and community services, Croydon Council
  • Feb 1999-May 2005 Departmental HR manager for corporate services, Croydon Council
  • Mar 1995-Feb 1999 Divisional HR manager for social services, Croydon Council

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