Are We HR – Or Are We Devo?

Hello PPMA members and friends

Dilys Wynn, PPMA Shires Network Policy Lead and Director of People Services at Gloucestershire County Council writes for us this week on the topical issue of devolution and what it means for HR.

“What will devolution really mean for the HR community?

After the high octane debate last year about Scottish devolution, and the desire for similar models to be adopted across England being echoed through the media and a variety of political channels, there appears to be a real appetite to make this happen, not just in the northern cities or in London but in the shires too.

Surely this is just a debate about decision making, funding and political ownership? On one level it is. However, HR people studying the impact of such models will already be working through how devolution will create at the least an extension of existing and most likely different demands of public sector leadership teams and workforces.

It is difficult to do justice in a brief article to the complex organisational design issues which will keep people in our profession intellectually stimulated over the next few years.  But here is a starter for 10.

There is no sense that devolution will mean wholesale restructuring and reorganisation, 1974 style. But it will mean developing organisational designs and complementary cultures which can manage increased levels of commissioning, delivery and funding across organisational boundaries.  This in turn will require a systems leadership approach as standard, together with the skill to work in potentially complex political environments within a mayoral structure and the ability to matrix manage across professional disciplines and organisations.

All the while we will want our leaders and our workforces to be able to keep their heads up, using business information drawn from across organisations and understanding the operational impact across the system in the devolved area, to shape the future with the local community.  A strength of local government people is their skills to lead programmes across services and sectors and they have demonstrated that they can work effectively with partners.  The role of HR is to support the enhancement of those skills, identify along with colleagues and partners, what the gaps might be and help design the system and create the culture that will benefit the locality.

HR is definitely devo (look it up on Wikipedia!).”






Dilys Wynn is PPMA Shires Network Policy Lead and Director of People Services at Gloucestershire County Council

By | 2017-07-30T12:23:13+01:00 August 6th, 2015|Categories: Dilys Wynn, PPMA Policy Lead|0 Comments

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