Personnel Today Award winner Mandy Coalter has joined Doncaster Council as
the head of HR. Last year, she was part of the City of York Council team that
won the managing health at work category. In her new role, she is responsible
for developing and implementing an HR strategy for more than 14,500 employees.
What do you hope to achieve in your new role?
I want to make sure HR has a strategic role in the council, shaping as well
as responding to the council’s ambitions. There are some key areas I want to
focus on including leadership, performance management, equalities, reward and
What is the strangest situation you have been in at work?
I once worked in an office that had just been converted from a toilet.
How do you think the role of HR will change over the next five years?
I think the time is right for HR to grasp the opportunity to become more
influential, proving its contribution to high performance. Although, I fear if
we fail to do this we could become an irrelevance.
What is your essential viewing?
Being a Northern lass, it has to be Coronation Street.
What’s the best thing about HR?
Dealing with people – they are so unpredictable.
How do you fill your spare time?
I love to travel and have recently visited New Zealand, which is a fantastic
country. I also enjoy walking and horse riding.
What is the greatest risk you have ever taken?
Deciding not to be a lawyer after finishing my degree was a big decision
which I feared I would regret. But, I’m very happy with how things turned out.
What is the essential tool in your job?
A good electronic diary to keep up with my many meetings.
And the most over-rated?
E-mail is a great way to communicate quickly, but has turned into a burden
for many people as they drown in the number of e-mails they receive (myself
What advice would you give to people starting out in HR?
Always practice what you preach – the HR team should be a model of best
practice people management otherwise you will have no credibility.
Who would play you in the film of your life and why?
Michelle Pfeiffer – she’s a great actress.
What’s the worst/best office party you’ve ever attended?
I once performed as Abba with a colleague of mine. We had great fun with the
wigs and costumes and even managed to win second prize.
2002 Head of HR, Doncaster
Metropolitan Borough Council
1999 HR manager, City of York Council
1998 Best value project officer, City of York Council
1996 Employee development adviser, City of York Council