Alium’s Public Sector and Government practice is led by James Foster, a senior sector executive with over 15 years’ relevant experience across many public sector clients. In this article, James sees a variety of challenges for interim managers and the public sector and a number of opportunities.
Think of the phrase public sector and a plethora of images spring to mind: local authorities, criminal justice, health, housing and welfare , central government departments and so on. The list is long – but so are the challenges in the current market:
No matter what the organisation or public body, todays’ public sector challenges fall to a specified number of professionals across a variety of areas including the traditional functional areas of HR, Operations, IT and, most crucially, Finance. However, there are also a number of specific capabilities in demand that today’s interim should be aware of. These include:
- Business transformation expertise – helping clients to develop innovative solutions while also providing ‘hands on’ implementation expertise.
- Shared services and BPOs leads – both with ‘traditional’ partners and new organisations.
- Expert advice – for example, leading options appraisals for spin-out delivery models, such as mutualisation, social enterprises and wholly owned companies.
- Project and programme leads – to add specialist skills to increase the pace of change.
- Senior gap filling - providing additional resilience and capacity as restructures take place.
The pure breadth of roles highlights only too well the issues that the sector is facing. From talent retention renewal and attraction, to infrastructure and support services – all in still a very austere background of cost cuttings and efficiency savings – providing solutions in these functions and capabilities is contributing towards the innovation needed. The challenge in the public sector is not to show profit, but to show progress and improvement wherever possible - and interim management should be at the forefront.
Are you an interim manager working in the public sector? What do you see as the challenges? Share your thoughts on interim managers and the public sector with us below.