Building a strong team
Leicester City Council
Jay’s Former Job Title: Head of Human Resources for the Social Services Department, covering Adult and Children’s Services (now Adult and Community Services Department)
Time Period: 1999 – 2007, a total of nine years
Social services was one of the largest and busiest departments in the city council, which Jay had to run. Established in 1997 following local government re-organisation, the department was initially chaotic, overwhelmed and lacking in fixed procedures and systems.
The principal problems preventing efficient departmental running were:
- Lack of official procedures and systems
- Poor staff development
- Overall below-par departmental performance
- Virtually non-existent HR databases
- Substandard management of staff absence
- Difficult on-going relationships with trade unions
Lack of organised systems – Jay developed the systems and processes, helping to create a staff care policy and linked initiatives, demonstrating her natural flair for HR policy development
Poor staff development – Jay was key in the creation, development and implementation of many new policies, including new asylum and immigration recruitment standards and processes involving POVA (Protection of Vulnerable Adults) and POCA (Protection of Children’s Act). Many such policies were then adopted across the entire council.
Staff absence/poor databases – Jay introduced a new and updated HR database system by obtaining funding to create the CYBORG Absence Model, subsequently adopted in every other department in the council.
Poor databases – Jay also secured funding to develop a number of database systems that would enable the department to provide statutory performance monitoring reports and general information on departmental performance
Trade union problems – Jay established a productive and constructive relationship with the trade unions which were extremely difficult before.
The following comments are taken directly from a reference written by Jay’s former manager of nine years, David Oldershaw, Service Director for Strategy, Commissioning, Performance and Business Support at Leicester City Council.
“During the nine years in which Jay was in charge of HR for this department, the section improved steadily, becoming well established and operating along systematic lines.
“The major contributions to this improvement were not only Jay’s direct leadership, but also the way in which she recruited and developed many good members of staff and, through the building of a strong team, improved the performance of the section.
“Jay is an advocate of modernisation and change, completing a number of reviews and internal re-organisations over the years.
“Jay always managed her budget well and met any savings targets required to support departmental finances, but she also generated revenue by marketing the HR Section services both within and outside the council.
“She has taken a strong lead on the contribution of HR to safeguarding issues, such as the establishment and delivery of the Criminal Record Bureau’s (CRB) processes, the POCA and POVA arrangements and the registration of social care staff to the General Social Care Council.
“Employment law is Jay’s prime area of specialisation. Under her leadership, the department has maintained an excellent performance. Her expertise has been particularly welcome with regard to TUPE arrangements.
“Jay has a strong and principled commitment to the continuous improvement of the service in order to deliver better and safer social care services.
“Jay is a champion of fair treatment and equalities and caring about others. She is persistent in the pursuit of these principles. These issues and characteristics are of crucial importance to roles in the management of human resources.
“She is a highly supportive colleague and if I found myself in a tight corner, I would want Jay alongside me. She is hardworking, loyal, trustworthy and honest and comes highly recommended.