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Changes at the top of the Public Sector People Managers' Association

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Dean Shoesmith, executive head of HR at the London Boroughs of Sutton and Merton, will take over as president of the Public Sector People Managers' Association (PPMA) later this month.

Shoesmith will succeed Gillian Hibberd, while Anne Gibson becomes the new vice-president.

The PPMA, which represents over 1,000 HR and organisational development professionals in the public sector, will officially announce the new presidency today at its annual conference.

Shoesmith said: "My year as president of the PPMA will focus on addressing the skills gap and on seeking out examples of the very best practice in the areas of training and development - particularly for those who don't possess basic literacy, numeracy and ICT skills. I believe there has never been a more important time to address the skills gap; if we don't win the skills race, we will fall back within the global economy - which will have considerable societal ramifications.

"There are swathes of working UK adults who have suffered educational disadvantage - both through being by-passed by the education system, but then their personal isolation and exclusion has been compounded by organisational failure to address their development in the workplace" he adds.

In his role as executive head of HR at the London Boroughs of Sutton and Merton, Shoesmith is responsible for leading the shared human resources team across the two organisations and its 11,000 combined employees. He is the first shared service head of HR, in an intra-London Borough shared service partnership, and is highly respected for his passion and dedication to up-skilling the workforce.

On taking over from Shoesmith as vice-president, Anne Gibson, HR director at Norfolk County Council, said: "A key priority for the PPMA in 2010 will be reaching out to the regions. As vice president, I am looking forward to supporting Dean to help grow and establish the PPMA membership over the next 12 months and working with our members to ensure that they are fully engaged and involved in the work of the PPMA."

On handing over the presidency to Dean, Gillian Hibberd, corporate director for people and policy at Buckinghamshire County Council, added: "I feel privileged to have represented my colleagues over the past 12 months. The sector is currently going through one of its most difficult periods in its history and the way that organisations develop the capability and skills of their people will determine how strong they emerge from recession. Dean is focusing on a critical issue during his year and I wish him lots of success."