Hello PPMA members and friends

This September we launched our PPMA Award winners series which is a combination of webinars and blog posts, where our amazing winners share their stories and experiences with us all.

This blog post is from Fiona Tuck, HR Business Partner – Projects at Lincolnshire County Council. Fiona is the winner of our Service Superstars Individual Award and below she explains more about the fantastic work that earned her the title:

Like thousands of public sector workers when the pandemic struck I joined the national call to action to deliver essential services in extreme circumstances.
This was demanding enough, but things suddenly became much tougher when I found myself playing an integral role in a complex and very high-profile programme of work which had been many years in the making. This was the start of my service ‘superstar’ journey…

At the end of 2019, after years of trying to improve our current HR, Payroll, Finance and Logistics system through incremental changes, Lincolnshire County Council officially decided to contract with a new organisation to deliver a total redesign. This is a critical project to support the effective management and payment of c. 10,700 employees, including firefighters, teachers, social workers and highways engineers, providing vital services to the communities of Lincolnshire.

In April 2021 I was asked to join the project to oversee all the operational aspects of the HR workstream and manage the interdependencies across multiple strands including Data Cleansing, User Acceptance Testing, Engagement, and Training and Guidance Creation.

All of this happened during a period when colleagues were based at home because of the pandemic and subsequently adopted hybrid working. I overcame these challenges and I have determinedly developed new and effective working relationships on behalf of the HR Service with the Finance Team, the Systems Team, the outsourced Payroll supplier, and the separate system supplier. I have acquired additional technical knowledge and skills outside of my comfort zone whilst still managing to maintain connections across all aspects of the HR Service.

Due to the multiple work strands, there have been complex and detailed interdependencies to manage as well as resolving issues raised by a range of stakeholders. My ability to motivate others and build effective working relationships has been essential in concluding these issues successfully. I have prided myself on remaining calm in intense situations and taking additional time to speak with people to achieve win/win outcomes.

From a personal perspective, I have been willing to work additional hours to meet the required deadlines and quality standards given the importance and profile of this Project. Additionally, I have given particular focus to developing my approach to achieve success, utilising the ILM Apprenticeship in Leadership and Management Level 5 which I am currently undertaking.

From my perspective, the critical success factors have included:
• Paying attention to detail whilst being able to maintain a strategic overview and innovative solutions to address problems.
• Being the ‘bridge’ between different specialist areas, bringing them together where needed, interpreting technical language and concepts so that the issues to be resolved are clear and transparent.
• Engaging and motivating a wide range of specialists in the HR Team across employee relations, recruitment and training so that there is a higher level of knowledge and ownership of the data and the system across the HR Service.
• Detailed communication and engagement approaches including securing obtaining necessary contribution from Line Managers and our 160 schools.
• Being tenacious, applying good practice project management principles throughout.

With our go-live date now set for April 2023, the journey continues, and I am so proud to have played an integral part in the ongoing success of this project especially during such a challenging time.

Fiona Tuck, HR Business Partner – Projects, Lincolnshire County Council