Hello PPMA members and friends
Our blog post this week comes from Anastasia Simpson who is director of VINE HR and business manager at Tendring DC. Her view is that it’s time for the sector to shine – and they have the tools to do it
“As I write, I am sitting back in a beautiful 1920’s building in desperate need of repair with water trickling through the roof. Now, as I see it, I have two choices. I can get all nostalgic and dream of the times when the public sector was awash with money (not water) to carry out those repairs. Or, alternatively I can take a reality check and ponder the opportunities open to the sector along with the creativity needed to respond to the challenge. I feel deeply that there has never been a greater chance for the public sector to really shine, re-invent itself, work with our partners and offer citizens a fantastic deal.
The majority of Councils have now restructured and when you ask a chief executive “What next?” they often speak of transformation. So what does this mean for HR. Some think there will be small centralised teams commissioning services (48% The MJ/Serco survey) and 36% believe there will be larger centralised teams delivering place-based, public services such as health, community safety and economic development.
When I speak to Ian Davidson, chief executive of Tendring DC, he speaks passionately about the ‘corporate vision’ and his overriding need for staff to deliver that vision. That means staff who will be above all flexible, public-spirited, and who have the ethos of wanting to make a difference within our community. Long gone is the mentality of working within silos and individual professions. We are searching for talent that will be sufficiently flexible to work on priority projects, consider the needs of all our residents and provide excellent and inspiring examples of community leadership.
A number of key areas in Tendring do not fall within the remit of a district council; we now have an education committee, working with local headteachers to raise standards and aspirations of young people as well as various vital partnerships with public bodies, the voluntary sector and the private sector. We have so many exciting opportunities for partnerships, creating an umbrella (the rain is falling even more rapidly – get a bucket quick) of different service delivery vehicles and models.
So what specific challenges are facing us in HR? Structure should follow strategy and HR should take a systematic and methodical approach to the design of both the organisation and its own function. It should be the people strategy that differentiates the role of HR and as part of this HR should be looking at re-shaping leadership capabilities, processes and other elements of its operating model.
New developments in IT have made many HR processes ‘redundant’. The HR function now needs to use its own ability and capacity to act with pace, flexibility and partner the organisation in change to develop and embed practical solutions that are owned and sustained by the organisation.
HR needs to be bold and courageous – taking ownership of their own change agenda, rather than responsibility for external pressures to change. HR must continue to adapt to maintain its relevance to the organisation. When the rain stops make the umbrella redundant! Continue to transform and adapt as the weather changes. Sun usually follows rain – well it does on our Essex Sunshine Coast!”
Anastasia Simpson is director of VINE HR and business manager at Tendring DC