Public sector HR: A PPMA Rising Star perspective

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What do the HR leaders of the future think of HR in the public sector?

Imogen Denton, winner of the PPMA’s Rising Star 2015 competition, which saw each entrant judged on a business plan to tackle changing demand for services and diminishing resources, offers her perspective on public sector HR.

Denton, equality and communications lead at Nottingham City Council, has held her current role for three years, before which she was a neighbourhood manager at the council.

“I’ve always been interested in equality and so when this [job] opportunity came up I thought: ‘I’m going to go for it’. I’ve always wanted to support the most vulnerable, that’s why I came into public services.

Often when you’re in a recession the hardest hit are the most vulnerable. When I look back at my career I’d like to think I’ve contributed to protecting them.

I think it’s really important the diversity agenda is considered because we’re less likely to leave anyone behind in decision-making. Without diversity at board level we’re less likely to make the right decision.

When I first came to the council we were just starting to feel the cuts. It’s been exciting to see the whole agenda around commercialisation. We’re now not only here to make sure we do the right thing but to make sure we do things as efficiently as possible. Our focus isn’t usually profit but we can learn about efficiency from the private sector.

My [PPMA] business plan was about pooling L&D resources across the sectors so we could develop diverse leadership in the city. You may have someone who works for a local authority spending time in a hospital to receive mentoring and training. That means both organisations better understand how the other works.

I definitely think the challenges of the last few years have forced us to be more innovative. I think the big challenge ahead is making sure we really understand the needs of the people we serve.”

Further reading

The future of public sector HR