One of the greatest honours of being PPMA president is the opportunity to visit HR practitioners both near and far. In recent weeks I feel I’ve led a nomadic existence as I’ve visited several of our regions, as well as making the long haul trip to the USA for the IPMA-HR conference 2010.

I’ve had the peculiar experience of visiting a place named Newcastle in two different countries in one week – that being Newcastle-upon-Tyne, England, and Newcastle, south of Belfast, in Northern Ireland. I was also delighted to be at the inaugural meeting of the newly formed South/South East PPMA region – although my Southern colleagues decided to hold their opening event in London, much closer to my personal home.

What has stuck me, whether I’ve met English, Irish or American HR practitioners is the scale of the challenge we all face as the public sector is undergoing massive reduction. That said there are some differences between America and Europe in terms of economics – with the American economists urging stimulation to try to kick their economy on from a somewhat stuttering period of marginal growth, post recession. In Europe, including the UK, Governments are wielding cuts in public spending to reduce considerable deficits.

In some quarters there’s concern economic growth is not yet sufficiently robust and that cuts in public spending will have adverse knock-on consequences for the private sector. I must say this is an economic view I share – as do some far more important people than me such as prominent captains of industry; including Sainsbury’s CEO Justin King who has recently gone to print expressing concern about cutting the public sector too hard, too soon.

Another sensation has also struck me – that is the warmth of reception and tremendous support I’ve received from all PPMA and IPMA-HR colleagues – as well as a sense of collective will to address these considerable challenges.



We’ve just teamed up with the HR Business Network to make this blog site richer, more interesting and to provide PPMA members with extra information. This means if you click on the HR Business Network link, you can access all the information, news and events from that site – access to the link is in the sidebar underneath the ‘Recent Posts’ section. It also means that current users of the HR Business Network network site can access the PPMA blog to see the latest news and views from public sector people management. Please let us know if you like the new service by either posting a remark on this blog or leaving a comment on the Facebook group page.

Happy viewing bloggers.

By | 2017-07-30T12:23:32+01:00 November 1st, 2010|Categories: Dean Shoesmith|2 Comments


  1. Bill Cole 2nd November 2010 at 12:54 am - Reply


    Another great post. As IPMA-HR Eastern Region President last year I had a similar nomadic lifestyle (albeit on a slightly smaller scale!!) The travel around the Eastern Region of the U.S. and my terrific experience with all of the PPMA members at the London Conference this past March, has reinforced my belief that we are all in this together. HR practitioners are dealing with the same issues and challenges whether they work in Barnstaple, Devon or Barnstable, Massachusetts.

    While I agree that there has been some effort to stimulate the economy at the National level in the US, state and local governments have been grappling with budget cuts and personnel layoffs for the past several years. This has caused some jurisdictions to resort to some drastic measures. An example of this can be found in the article “Colorado Springs: Do-It-Yourself Government” from the September 2010 issue of GOVERNING Magazine.

    The anticipated shift to the right following the US elections will also create some new challenges for governments at all levels. It will be interesting to compare the our experiences post-election with what our colleagues in the UK are experiencing under the Cameron government.

    On a more positive note, I too was struck by the warm reception that I received across the Eastern Region of the United States and across the Atlantic at the PPMA Conference. There was a shared commitment to our organizations, our profession, and each other.

    I look forward to reading what others have to say about this issue.


  2. Dean Shoesmith 5th November 2010 at 7:25 pm - Reply

    Hello Bill – I really appreciate you going the extra mile in producing some kind and thought-provoking comments on my blog post, as well as posting in the very interesting link – which was covered in the UK press because of it’s bold and unusual approach.

    I see that the TEA party appears to have made gains in the US following the mid-term elections – it’s been covered widely on TV and in the press in the UK, and so has the gains by the Republicans.

    My view is that the more we work in collaboration across the oceans or borderlines the more chance we have of being enlightened and cementing constructive relationships to tackle the international ‘wicked problems’ of global recession amongst other major challenges.

    I must apologise for the lateness of my reply but I’ve just been to St Andrews in Scotland – speaking at the SPDS conference and doing my bit to foster further collaboration.


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