Lal joined the council in March 2016 as the Assistant Chief Executive with overall responsibility for human resources and organisational development, corporate communications and marketing, change and innovation, neighbourhood services and democratic services and performance, intelligence and improvement. The council has made great progress on the government intervention and improvement plan and the secretary of state has returned decision making powers back to the council 6 months earlier than expected.
Lal has worked in local government for 29 years in a range of roles; starting out in a frontline service role, moving to research and policy, training and development, customer services, change and transformation and then a range of HR/OD roles.
In 2007 Lal won the award for national training manager of the year. In addition to this he has worked as an assistant director of customer and workforce services, Coventry City Council, managing the customer services transformation programme and successfully overseeing the migration of council services into one consolidated council ‘front door’.
Shokat also led a major business services review at Coventry, implementing a centralised administration function. This review involved over a thousand employees and led to savings of £6 million.
Lal supported Coventry through a number of phases in its transformation journey, in particular around continuous improvement. In addition to leading on the organisational development work, culture change and new ways of working projects, Lal has led on a high profile and innovative award winning social worker recruitment campaign, developed an apprenticeship scheme and strategy that has resulted in 120 placements being offered at any one time at the council, and developed a new model for HR delivery based on the challenges the council faces over the next three to five years.
Lal is also vice chair of Southern Derbyshire CCG working at a board level role for over 13 years and in a voluntary capacity has worked on a range of community cohesion projects and initiatives.