Hello PPMA member and friends

This is the third  in our series of 40th Anniversary celebration articles from PPMA Past Presidents. This week we hear from Brian McAndrew, who was President of SOCPO nearly 30 years ago, he recalls how the help of his peers and members, enabled the organisation to achieve great things.

‘Congratulations to us all on the 40th anniversary of the Society of Chief Personnel Officers, and now PPMA. During those 40 years, our work and the world in which we operate, has changed beyond recognition. Much of that change has been for the better and SOCPO and PPMA members should take their share of the glory for placing the engagement and inclusion of people at the heart of local government.

My election as President in 1986 was a particularly proud moment because it reflected the support of my peers. The benefits a society able to deliver that peer-to-peer support and sharing of what works, are immeasurable and needed even more today than 40 years ago.

I was also very proud to host one of the Annual SOCPO conferences and a Lord Mayor’s reception in my hometown of Bradford. These were exciting days in Bradford with its pioneering work in management development, leadership, workforce planning and equal opportunities. The previous Director of Personnel, Terry Musgrave, was the first of his profession to become a Chief Executive of a major authority.  This broke the tradition of appointing lawyers and accountants to the top job, albeit that Terry, the first Treasurer of SOCPO, was a gold medalist accountant. Once that particular ceiling was shattered, I was able to become the third Bradford Director to become a London Chief Executive.

I know local government is a tough sector to be a leader in. If I could encourage PPMA to do one thing, it would be to support its members to find ways to hang on to the good stuff even if you have to reluctantly hand over and or cut the peripherals. The things that help determine a brilliant local authority are often the easiest to cut. Cling on to such things as diversity, equality and inclusion, leadership development and smart selection systems.

Keep the people function where it should be – in the mind and at the heart of any local authority.’

Brian McAndrew is former President of SOCPO (1986- 87)