Strategic HR in the Third Sector Conference 2011, London, UK, March 3, 2011

Strategic HR Review

ISSN: 1475-4398

Article publication date: 9 August 2011



Jarvis, T. (2011), "Strategic HR in the Third Sector Conference 2011, London, UK, March 3, 2011", Strategic HR Review, Vol. 10 No. 5.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Strategic HR in the Third Sector Conference 2011, London, UK, March 3, 2011

Article Type: Resources From: Strategic HR Review, Volume 10, Issue 5

Senior HR practitioners from over 150 medium to large charities gathered at this event to hear a comprehensive program from the sector’s most eminent charities, sharing new approaches to overcoming HR management challenges.

Chaired by Roger Parry, director at Agenda Consulting, the sessions opened with Dame Barbara Stocking, chief executive of Oxfam. She outlined some of the essential requirements and expectations of the relationship between a CEO and an HR director and the significant impact they can have on an organization. In her experience these include establishing a trust and mutual respect for each other’s professional judgment, and allowing a difference in approach or different problem solving style to be used to innovate and imaginatively create new ideas and solutions. She also accepted that she could and should be challenged, and valued the courage of the HR director to do that.

She acknowledged that people underpin the success of any operation and therefore argues that HR has a vital part to play in operational success, that the HR director will normally have great insight into operations and should be seen as part of the general management team.

She also recognized how important it is to allow time to laugh and cry together, sharing the passion for the cause and experiencing the joys but also frustrations and disappointments that it sometimes brings.

Charities share lessons learned and best practice

The morning workshops were given by Rethink, London Early Years Foundation and The National Deaf Children’s Society (NDCS):

  • Arfan Ali from Rethink presented the development of an on-line training system using low-cost software to enable employees to access training courses virtually.

  • Neil King from London Early Years Foundation delivered an informative workshop on how the organization achieved a 55 percent response rate through its latest staff survey.

  • Gill Bloyce, HR manager from NDCS described how it was affected by the 2008 banking crisis and the strategies put in place to minimize the impact on the organization and employees. These included an internal communications program that enabled extensive staff consultation, maintained employee engagement and ensured that employees’ concerns were listened to and addressed throughout.

The Royal Albert Hall, CLIC Sargent and The Prince’s Trust presented the afternoon workshops:

  • Sue Duncan from the Royal Albert Hall provided a stimulating workshop on the implementation of a new performance management system. She highlighted the importance of creating a system that was easy to use and tailored to the specific needs of different parts of the organization, and highlighted strong senior leadership team support as being critical to its successful implementation.

  • Debbie Hill from CLIC Sargent presented on internship schemes and equipped a large group with the skills, motivation and inspiration required to set up their own internship program. The session challenged participants to think creatively about the possibility of internships at their charity and made a very clear point; the key to a successful internship is a defined project and an open organization.

  • An apprenticeship workshop was led by Laura Bell from The Prince’s Trust – most participants were either in the process of setting up an apprenticeship scheme or thinking about doing so. Participants were advised not to consider apprenticeships as a cost cutting solution but rather as a mechanism for bringing skilled workers into the sector – noting that the young workers will be more committed than expected for their age group.

Ben Kernigan, deputy chief executive of the National Council for Voluntary Organizations (NCVO) closed the conference with a keynote speech looking at opportunities for growth in the voluntary sector. He highlighted areas such as the growth of social investment and the prospect of increased volunteering rates.

For more information

The next Strategic HR in the Third Sector conference takes place on March 1, 2012 at The Hallam Conference Centre, London W1W 6JJ. For further information please contact Agenda Consulting on 01865 263 720 or e-mail

Tracy JarvisMarketing Manager at Agenda Consulting.

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