The East Midlands HR Network: The place for in-house HR, L&D and OD professionals to meet, share, support & grow...

4 June 2016

Nottingham City Council HR boss delivers transformational talk to East Midlands HR Network.

2 March 2016

 Nottingham City Council HR boss delivers transformational talk to East Midlands HR Network.

 Nottingham City Council’s HR Director and Head of Transformation delivered a passionate presentation on how the council have dealt with the biggest cuts to public spending in a generation, and what that has meant for the workforce and culture at one of the city’s largest employers.

 Scores of in-house HR professionals congregated at Loxley House, Nottingham City Councils headquarters to hear from Richard Henderson and Shauna Posaner, and network with fellow professionals and peers from across the East Midlands.

The network which got off to a flying start in October 2015 with Andrew Stephenson from DFS headlining the launch event at Harts, is supported by founding sponsors Actons Solicitors, Penny Strutton and Blusource HR.

Richard Henderson started off by highlighting the often forgotten but incredibly broad range of services the council offers by showing their new starter induction video, services from education, social services and library services, through to refuse collection, local leisure centres.

He went on to explain the national context behind the extensive cuts to council budgets from 2010, and that half way through the 10 year cost cutting programme – they’ve done a lot, but there’s more to come.

Along with councils up and down the country, Nottingham City are facing budget pressure like never before – cuts to public spending, with increasing demand for services.  Rolling the clock back five years, the council started to address the issue by taking costs out of the system.

Richard explained; “It’s fair to say that back in 2011 we started by looking at quick wins to reduce costs through staff redeployment, reductions to redundancy package, increment freeze, cutting senior management competency pay and the car parking levy.  Those were alongside voluntary measures such as flexible retirement, unpaid leave, voluntary reduced hours, and changes to some other benefits”.

2013 saw the appointment of a new CEO at the council, the Director of Children’s Services, Ian Curryer. He made sure the Council was focused on how it served local people – putting ‘Citizens at the heart’.

Shauna Posaner, Head of Transformation outlined what the culture change programme includes and what it looks like after the first 12 months.  “For the first 12 months, Ian ran engagement events and workshops to explain his vision for the council and gather feedback directly from council staff at all levels”.

She continued by talking in detail about some of the ways they are making sometimes fairly small changes, but which collectively bring larger scale organisational transformation.  “The critical part of our programme is that we spend a lot of time conducting workshops and discussions with the front line staff, we learn and develop our change programme from there, it’s not dictated by the centre and senior leaders”.

Helen Duncliffe, HR Policy & Projects Advisor at NEBOSH said “It was a great presentation, there was a real sense of passion about the transformational change within what is becoming a more and more prevalent area i.e. balancing cuts and leading change in a positive more commercial setting!”.

Nic Elliott, Director at Actons Solicitors, one of the co-founders of the HR Network said “It was a superb event and great to see such a great turnout.  Richard and Shauna delivered a fascinating insight into how the Council is approaching this stuff – really interesting if you’re in the HR world in public and private sectors.”

Network co-founder Penny Strutton added “Thanks so much to Richard, Shauna and the team at Nottingham City Council for hosing and delivering tonight’s event, and for being so candid about what they have done and what’s still to do to achieve those significant savings.”

Helen McPake from fellow co-founders Blusource HR commented: “Richard and Shauna gave us a real insight into the various measures taken by the Council to respond to budget cuts.  It was really interesting to hear about all that they have done so far and still have plans to do.  Thank you to both for such an informative and engaging presentation!”

The next few events are now live on the website, with more to come.  Visit, and follow us on twitter @thehrnetworkem or join the LinkedIn Group.