Hello PPMA members and friends

The next in our series of articles from PPMA Past Presidents, is written by Ron Patterson (1990 – 91), who looks at how adversity for the sector made his tenure as President more rewarding as progress started to build.

‘Looking in retrospect at my Presidential year in 1990 it is clear that Local Government was experiencing a torrid time. Fortunately as Personnel Officers we did not have to deal with the Poll Tax protests but we had a plethora of our own problems.

Recruitment and retention of staff was one of the major issues facing authorities at that time and the subject was a regular agenda item. The main answer in the long run was to train more people to meet the demand but of course line managers were also under extreme pressure to reduce costs and training was one of the first budgets to be cut.

The reduction of costs was also fundamental in order to compete with enforced competitive tendering. I am pleased that SOCPO was instrumental in seeking co-operation with other colleagues in LACSAB, LGTB, INLOGOV and similar bodies to provide as much assistance as possible.

The publication of the Society’s booklet on the Personnel Implications of the Single European Market set the scene for further co-operation with European colleagues. A pilot seminar on this subject was organised in Plymouth jointly by the Society and the Institute of Personnel Management (CIPD) which attracted a visit from colleagues in Spanish Local Government.’

Ron Patterson is former president of SOCPO
(1990- 91)