This is a recent example of delivering a challenging programme management/change assignment for an organisation with widespread operational and programme/contract management issues. The RPA had well-publicised and severe operational problems – not least in IT, contract management and financial control - leading to a damaged reputation amongst stakeholders and Ministers as well as rising infrastructure costs and EU fines for under-performance.
The challenge was to identify individuals with the ability and credibility to lead an organisation in the public eye, who could deal confidently and assuredly with diverse stakeholders and run an efficient operations and transactions. The CEO had to build the right culture within the senior management team. There are some good people at the RPA who are good at their jobs; however the leadership previously had not been strong. The media message we agreed with the client was to sell the role as an exciting challenge and the personal and professional opportunities it offered.
Our client was the sponsoring department, Defra, and we established a strong partnership from the start with the Director General, Katrina Williams, and her team, as well as the Civil Service Commissioner, to devise a proactive strategy that positively sold the challenges whilst not shying away from the scale of delivery and intense scrutiny the roles will be under. A key element of the campaign was prioritising the user groups' needs and diverse expectations, and reflecting this in the diversity of our search and the rigour of our candidate assessment.
Managing risk and challenge
Adding value to the client
Our sourcing strategy was based on:
We sourced a high calibre range of candidates with a mix of government and commercial expertise; our search list was over 200 individual contacts. We agreed a longlist of 6, whom we interviewed in depth, to produce a shortlist of 4 candidates. All brought exceptional track records. The successful candidate was Mark Grimshaw, who brings a leadership background with the Child Support Agency, Jobcentre Plus and at Board level in the telecoms industry
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