Nana Amoa-Buahin has been appointed as head of HR at Lambeth Council. She has moved from Hounslow Council, where she headed up the strategic HR team and spearheaded its modernisation agenda. Amoa-Buahin has joined at an exciting time for Lambeth. In December 2004, the council was confirmed as the fastest improving local authority in London. Its HR successes include a lowered level of overall sickness absence and good staff morale.
Where were you working before, and what were your duties?
I was strategic HR manager for the London Borough of Hounslow. I was responsible for developing, promoting and implementing the council’s approaches to pay, diversity, e-government, employee relations, flexible working, and anything else I could fit into the day.
What will be your duties in your new role?
I will provide leadership and strategic direction on HR issues, and will develop and drive an HR strategy in support of the borough’s community strategy and the council’s improvement plan. I will lead the development of recruitment and retention campaigns, streamline a number of personnel processes, and implement a new electronic HR system, in addition to helping staff achieve excellence through a programme of staff learning and development.
How many hours do you work a week on average?
Too many – any HR practitioner who fits everything into their contracted hours should write a book for the rest of us to learn from.
What do you hope to achieve in your new role?
To enable the council’s transformation into an ‘excellent’ local authority. Solid foundations have been put in place, and there is lots of enthusiasm and commitment to consolidate and build a better future.
What is the most annoying piece of management jargon?
‘Blue-sky thinking’ – the skies over London don’t look very blue to me.
Who is your ultimate guru?
Patricia Woods, former HR director of the Metropolitan Police. She is an unflappable, charismatic, consummate professional. She leads by example and taught me how to listen.
How do you fill your spare time?
Snooker, reading, and trying to finish those fiendish Su Doku puzzles.
What was the last book you read?
Fish! Tales, by Stephen C Ludin. In their own words, real people honestly discuss the difficulties they encountered while trying to transform their workplace – and how they overcame reluctance, resistance and burnout.
What is the worst thing about HR?
Losing George Clooney… sorry, I thought you said ER!
- 2005 Head of HR, Lambeth Council
- 1999 Strategic HR manager, London Borough of Hounslow
- 1996 HR manager, Metropolitan Police
- 1995 Senior recruitment manager, Metropolitan Police
- 1994 Staff officer, Metropolitan Police