The Interim Candidate Case Study: Bernadette Marjoram

The Interim Candidate Case Study: Bernadette Marjoram

Area of Expertise: Local Authority Transformation

Career History

Bernadette Marjoram has over 40 years experience working in Local Authorities, with a proven track record in corporate management including transformation, improvement planning, change management as well as service management including regeneration, planning, housing, environmental services, frontline services and community engagement. Serving at Chief Executive, Executive Director and Chief Officer level, she has reported to a range of political and governance arrangements across the UK. She moved into interim management in 2002.

Bernadette also has extensive Non-Executive experience and is a qualified mentor/ coach.

Odgers Interim Assignments 

Odgers Interim has placed Bernadette four times, beginning in 2010 with back-to-back interim management roles at the London Borough of Croydon, where her responsibilities included a strategic and governance review of the Council’s Public/Private Sector Regeneration Company and Programme Director for the new £140m headquarters.

Next, she became Interim Strategic Director, Environment and Neighbourhoods at London Borough of Sutton, covering everything from Sustainability and Planning & Transportation to Economic Development and Culture & Leisure Services. Thereafter came a move to Haringey Council, where she was Interim Programme Director for Tottenham dealing with the high-profile regeneration of Tottenham following the 2011 riots. 

Finally, as Interim Director of Regeneration at the housing association Metropolitan Housing Trust, she was responsible for the Clapham Park Estate £1 billion programme to provide around 4,000 new and refurbished homes. This entailed introducing new programme governance and management arrangements as well as significant amount of stakeholder management, including the Clapham Park Homes Board, Local Authority Councillors and officers, residents, Transport for London and other key strategic partners.

Care and Support

Bernadette says her main point of contact at Odgers Interim has always been “very accessible, helpful and supportive”. She greatly appreciates the diverse nature of assignments she has been able to undertake through Odgers Interim.

“I’m told my CV is particularly varied,” says Bernadette. “The variety in the assignments I’ve had and the challenges that have come with them enables me to ensure I make positive contributions as well as enabling my own development. It is important that, as an interim, I continue to add value to the client.” 

Delivering Results

Bernadette occasionally describes herself as “a strategic resource for tactical deployment” and she is certainly keen to bring her strategic skills to bear when undertaking reviews, restructurings or major programme implementations. 

Significant achievements in assignments in which Bernadette was placed by Odgers Interim include: Programme Director overseeing the regeneration team that successfully delivered Croydon Council’s award winning new £140m headquarters delivered through the Public/ Private regeneration company; obtaining agreement from Haringey Council to the programme management arrangements for Tottenham`s regeneration programme including 10 key strategic programme objectives for the regeneration of the area and establishing partnership groups to develop these; and as Metropolitan Housing Trust’s, Clapham Park lead negotiator, gaining agreement from TfL to vary the original masterplan proposals, thereby securing the viability of the revised Business Plan.

“Often what happens with assignments is that I go in to deliver against a particular brief and then I am asked to take on additional roles and / or responsibilities, due to my diverse background,” says Bernadette. “It gives the client access to the skills, capacity and competencies they might not have in-house or need long term, particularly where they are dealing with organisational and management change or challenging programmes and projects. It’s a quick and effective way to bring in experienced resources to address priority issues. 

“All my assignments are challenging for different reasons. For me, it is about making sure that when I leave, I have added value to the organisation and have contributed to it`s overall improvement journey.” 

Niall Bolger, Chief Executive at the London Borough of Sutton provides as case study on Bernadette’s time as Interim Strategic Director, Environment and Neighbourhoods at London Borough of Sutton

The Issue

The brief for Director of Regeneration and Environment was a challenging one and we wanted to take the opportunity to effect change in this key function in order to then recruit a permanent Director. I therefore was not looking for somebody to simply ‘babysit’ whilst a permanent Director was recruited. Bernadette very much fitted the box of what good Interim Management provides. In that, Bernadette was absolutely focused on the deliverables we had set out and very much left the organisation improved as a result of her efforts and approach.

The Candidate

Often Interims fail to recognise the culture, values and behaviours of the organisation. Bernadette did recognise these dynamics and fully absorbed herself into this assignment. Making herself available for Member meetings and evening briefings and ensuring a highly visible presence throughout. Bernadette also ensured she stayed focused on the deliverables despite the many distractions that can often prevail and left a good platform for the permanent appointee to arrive into. 

The Outcome

As any good interim should, Bernadette created the conditions for sustainable success. She was the change agent I had hoped for, appropriately and equitably challenging the organisation where necessary yet offering and applying solutions. 

Finally, Bernadette provided a thorough ‘end of term’ report to ensure no dependency creation. Quite the opposite, she ensured staff were developed, knowledge was transferred and a thorough handover was provided. I would recommend Bernadette as a true example of the benefits Interims can provide.

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