Hello PPMA members and friends

As 2016 draws to a close and we are wrapped up in the preparations for Christmas I thought it would be good to take some time to pause and reflect on the year just gone. It has been a bit of a roller coaster – globally, in the UK, across the public sector and for many personally as well. The surprises, Brexit and The American Election result, the inevitable, bungled legislation and cock-eyed thinking from central government and the challenges, keep doing more with a great deal less and the looming disaster that is social care. In the midst of all this we have lost some well loved characters, David Bowie, Victoria Wood, Andrew Sachs, Frank Nicholson and Rabbi Lionel Blue. Add to all that usual ups and downs of family and personal lives and  we’ll have earned us all a good rest and some good cheer for the festive season. No wonder the sales of gin have gone up exponentially during 2016!

The shining light for me this year though has been the indomitable spirit of Local Government. In spite of the constant need to take on more, redesign, re-organise and reshape, our staff remain upbeat, determined and ready to roll with the punches. We have been talking about public sector ethos and what it takes to be a 21st Century Public Servant and it is difficult to put your finger on what it is, exactly, that this thing is, this essence of service and the attitudes and values that underpin the work we do. But it is so vital to what we do. Rather than ask people public life to swear allegiance we would do well to celebrate the many ways our staff demonstrate the values and contribute to making our society better and our communities stronger.

Something sticks in my mind from our Seminar in June. Lucy Adams talked about our staff as human. Not assets – that’s inanimate objects and things which cannot move, innovate, create or enthuse – but a precious resource. If nothing else for 2017 let’s ban the phrase “our staff are out greatest asset” and let’s celebrate the rich seam of ideas, energy and creativity. It is the only resource we can grow and HR and OD are uniquely placed to do so. Developing, challenging, encouraging and supporting are our watchwords. Let’s do mote of what we are really good at.

Personally,  I have taken the huge decision to take Early Retirement in April. As I stand down from the Presidency and hand over to Caroline Nugent I am going to step into the different world of Interim and Consultancy. I am determined to be a “good” Past President so I have no intention of stepping away from PPMA  – it has meant so much to me personally and professionally  – and I will work to support Caroline and you, our members. This is quite a change as I have been a corporate being for all of my working life. I love Warwickshire where I have had the opportunity to develop and to work with some fabulous colleagues. The time is right and I am keen to continue in the public sector so although it is a change I will not lose the great network of superb colleagues across the sector.

Merry Christmas to you and yours and every good wish for 2017. Whatever your personal journey has been through 2016 I hope you have arrived at the end of it in good spirits and ready for whatever comes in 2017.

Sue Evans

PPMA President