An open letter to Penna's interim network

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01 May 2020

An open letter to Penna's interim network

Firstly, on behalf of everyone here at Penna we wanted to start by saying a huge thank you to all of you, both our interim managers and clients. Your continuous hard work and dedication throughout this crisis has made such an impact on communities and residents. Never before has it been more evident the vital role that local authorities play in helping to keep us safe. We are in awe of all you do. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts.  

We thought it would be helpful, particularly for our interim network, to give you an update on our recent experience, how the market is looking, and how we can help you.

The Penna interim team are still maintaining regular contact with our clients and interim managers across the public sector through telephone calls, Zoom and Microsoft Teams. As you might expect, much of the focus right now remains on COVID-19 but we are starting to see a slow shift now back to some of the original workstreams which were put on hold in response to the pandemic. There’s even been some new programmes kicked off, with organisations beginning to ask themselves how they will look and operate when restrictions are lifted. We certainly hope there are some positives that can be taken away from all of this.

We’re pleased to report that we have still been appointing into Chief Executive, Director, Assistant Director and Head of Service interim assignments across all service areas, with some fantastic examples of virtual interviewing and assessment on different technology platforms. Councils have been brilliant at embracing the new online recruitment process and have couriered laptops and other IT equipment to the appointed interim. Some interim managers we have placed recently might never actually go to the client site! Will this crisis change the way we recruit, and the way we work, forever?

In terms of the trends we’ve been seeing, there has been a few areas we noticed an increase in demand for - communications, emergency planning, health and safety, communities, social care, HR and Finance. We’re also beginning to see demand increase for project and programme managers, and we expect this to continue in the coming weeks and months, particularly around transformation.

For those in-between assignments, now is a good time to make contact with your recruiters. Video calls have been a great way to keep in touch. Now is a really good time to take a look at your CV and think about a re-fresh. We are very happy to offer a friendly critique! And definitely make sure you are keeping up to date by reading the MJ and LGC. Please let us know how we can help you further.

We will be holding some Zoom/MS team round table conversations in the coming weeks. For example, where will councils need support over the coming months. How has this crisis changed the way councils work and what will we need in the future. We will also hold a session for those who are new to the interim world and would like to discuss how to get your new career off to a flying start. Do let us know what you’d like to discuss, and if you’re keen to participate.

There is no doubt that the last 6-7 weeks have been disruptive for all of us. But it has also highlighted the very best in people. How quickly we adapt, how quickly we can come up with solutions, and how important it is to keep in touch. It has felt that this crisis has really brought everyone together – looking out for each other and helping each other. Be that friends, family and our work family both internal and external. It’s been a real privilege to help our public sector family recruit the expertise needed to help us get through this, and we too are grateful for your support.

So once again, a HUGE thank you from Penna and we look forward to speaking with you all soon. 

Toni Hall – Director – Public Sector Executive Interim toni.hall@penna.com

Tim Farr – Associate Director – Executive Interim tim.farr@penna.com

Philippa Watkins – Associate Director – CIPFA Philippa.watkins@penna.com