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.

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