29 November 2012

Perspective talks to David Myers - Interim Shared Services Outsourcing Programme Manager at Shropshire Council…

David, firstly can you tell us a bit about your career to date and how long have you been working as an Interim?

I held various board level roles in the private sector for 10 years and these were followed by senior public sector roles for over five years. I have been an interim for close on seven years now and I have worked for the Cabinet Office, Defra, Shropshire Council and the Home Office.

What do you see as your core specialisms?

Shared services, outsourcing, local authority trading companies, IT and business change.

Over the past 10 years or so, how has your career evolved?

I have moved from full time single organisation senior roles to performing a series of high value interim projects in both public and private sector companies. All have been at board level and focused on transforming organisations.

You’ve worked in both the private and public sectors so what do you think are the main differences between the two?

In many ways they have the same performance challenges - particularly in these austere times. Perhaps effecting the change was slightly more straightforward in the private sector given the increased level of scrutiny associated with public bodies. Public bodies are rarely able to choose their customers and have to comply more transparently with rules and regulations that are imposed on them both nationally and - increasingly - from Europe.

In today’s market, what do you think are the main challenges that Interims now face?

Same as always really; it’s the value equation . Can an interim work alongside the client rather than separate from the client? And can they demonstrate significant value add that may not be possible otherwise?

On the flip side, what do you think are the main opportunities?

Increasingly, the budget challenges facing public bodies means that old ways of working simply won’t deliver the savings that are required. We live in a period of unprecedented demand with pressure allied to much reduced resources. A clear thinking and knowledgeable interim can significantly help an organisation respond to this.

Can you tell us about your current assignment at Shropshire Council?

Shropshire Council wanted to develop a far reaching shared service strategy that would eventually lead to a new way of delivering services through a Local Authority Trading Company so my role was to design and implement the strategy. The council has achieved £2m per annum initial shared service savings  and it has recently set up ip&e limited which is a new 100% owned trading platform. The council expects significant numbers of staff to transfer in to this company and to run it as a successful and profitable business over the next spending period.

In your opinion, what are the trends that are developing within Local Government in respect of shared services, private sector partnerships and the delivery of its services?

Rejection of the pure outsourcing model in favour of a more enlightened shared endeavour approach between the council and other sectors.

As an experienced interim who has worked in both the commercial sector and other parts of the public sector, how well do you think Local Government is responding to the current landscape?

Quite well. In Shropshire, we have had a lot of interest from other authorities in the model we are pursuing and I can see new types of trading partnership cropping up with the public, private and voluntary sectors.

In your opinion, what do you think are the main benefits for an organisation that employs Interims?

Responsiveness, point knowledge to solve particular problems, a focus on value rather than trying to build an account and hopefully a ‘can do’ attitude that is not driven by tenure but by achieving specific objectives.

Finally, any words of advice for readers of Perspective who may be thinking of becoming an Interim?

Bravery and self confidence are critical. The courage of your convictions to give the best advice irrespective of whether this will prolong a role or not and the confidence to challenge the status quo. Organisations which employ interims are usually looking for a game changer so being able to demonstrate that you make a difference is critical. 


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