Dear PPMA colleagues and friends

As you know our President, Caroline Nugent and PPMA Policy Board members have been working hard on our new branding and approach to marketing the great work PPMA does. As part of that work, we have decided that we want to make more use of our ‘Let’s talk, people’ strapline. We really like it and think it helps us develop some common branding.

We’re finalising our research programme and events calendar for the year and you will start to see these being branded with our new themes. They are quite broad, align with our key business plan objectives and priorities. So, here they are…….

• Let’s Talk: Leadership
• Let’s Talk: Transformation
• Let’s Talk: Developing our organisations
• Let’s Talk: Future Workforce
• Let’s Talk: Digital
• Let’s Talk: Wellbeing
• Let’s Talk: Evidence
• Let’s Talk: PPMA Global

You’ll notice that we’ve run a number of events recently with two of our Platinum sponsors under the Let’s Talk: Digital theme. Jobsgopublic and Matrix SCM have offered our members and colleagues from other public services their own perspective on this red hot issue. And of course our joint research with EduServ is absolutely focused on the digital agenda and we’ve a Webinar event coming up with them this week.

We think that using these themes gives us a bit of additional clarity and structure in terms of organising our offering to you. It also means that we have the flexibility to examine a number of issues within a theme. This is important because, as we know, it’s not always easy – or desirable – to fit our work into neat boxes and definitions. So for example, the issue of pay and reward will continue to capture our attention as HR professionals. We might choose to look at this under our Let’s Talk: Future Workforce theme, or indeed Let’s Talk: Developing our organisations.

We’ll be updating the website shortly to explain a bit more about each theme. Please do let us know what you think, we read all of your emails and comments and we’ll respond as quickly as we can.

Next week, Caroline will be launching a new series of blog posts on Let’s Talk: Leadership and VP Karen Grave, sets the scene for us.

“Both Caroline and I were delighted to attend the launch of the Women in Public Service project in London on July 24th. This critical project is led by Stacey-Rebecca Karlsson at The Guardian, who as you probably know, is a great friend to the PPMA and she is also a significant role model in the media world. Like many of us – male and female, Stacey has been perplexed by the findings of the recent Fawcett report and Caroline will have plenty to say on this next week.

We often think about the scarcity of women in senior leadership positions in terms of diversity. As HR professionals, we are absolutely duty bound to implement government legislation, but I think that we would all privately acknowledge that there are times that government policy doesn’t always deliver what it’s best intentions tried to do. I have started to wonder whether the best way of thinking about this is to think through the lens of leadership instead. And of course, by doing the right thing on the ground and not getting distracted by complex initiatives!

That view was reinforced by an inspiring introduction to the Women in Public Service project by Jo Miller, SOLACE President and Chief Executive of Doncaster Metropolitan Borough Council. Jo’s view – and I think she is dead right – is that in the most basic analysis, women make up half the population. Focusing on gender balance then increases the likelihood that the decisions we make for our citizens will be better. I loved this and I think the focus on the outcomes we deliver for our citizens is the goal that we must not lose sight of.

Jo, through her utterly authentic approach to leadership – i.e., she’s really honest –has taken some flak for her dedication to developing women in leadership. The legitimate questions about representation of all groups – religious, ethnic, sexual orientation are, of course, important and protected by law. But, as we all know women do not have the monopoly on being gay, straight, white, black, brown, Catholic, Muslim, Jewish and so on. Jo’s onto something I think by framing this as an issue of service delivery and I hope this might be an effective way of ensuring we address the Fawcett findings.

In addition to Jo, we had input from Stacey, Caroline, Terry McDougall (SOLACE in Business), Deborah Cadman (newly announced Chief Executive of the West Midlands Combined Authority) and Selena Lansley (Head of Workforce, LGA). It was a fantastic, thought provoking evening and I am looking forward to seeing what comes out of this work.

I’m delighted to say that Caroline will be using our Let’s Talk: Leadership theme to introduce a series of blogs and events on Fawcett and the Women in Public Services project. Tune in next week for her inaugural blog on one of her key presidential priorities”.