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The Essential Role of Interim Resources in Delivering Value to Local Government and Communities - Steven Caplan

Interim resource needs to ensure it washes its face, to ensure that it delivers best value to the council and therefore to the community that it serves.  

I sat down with Steven Caplan, a highly experienced and decorated contracting practitioner in the senior interim world, specifically within local government. 

Steve was kind enough to share his insights into what interims in local government need to do in order to be successful. Here at the Truth about Local Government are delighted to have Steve share this content with us.  

1 Research-do as much as you can general research of the area (place) and organisation- look on websites see who's profiles you can become familiar with check out local statistics and always worth looking at local newspaper web pages as well. Do the usual Googling of key people and issues regarding the organisation. Local plan/reports/council plan and so on.  

2 Ask who? As an interim you're likely to be on a daily rate often considered expensive although in reality this isn't usually the case if the organisation factors in employer costs such as National Insurance, pension, apprenticeship levy, bank holiday and holiday pay, sick pay and so on. Therefore, you are expected to get on with the tasks of the role and specifics of the job with immediate effect. In order to do this you may need to know things from HR, ICT, finance, and the usual general rules/constitution and delegations you may hold on your appointment, but you will have with immediate effect. Quite simply ask who it is you need to be in touch with on numerous and various matters in order to be completely effective. Do not sit around waiting for help would be my advice, find support or where you can, and or self-serve and get on with it. 

3 People. Aligned to knowing who to ask, you need to know who you will be working with in your team, your peers your line management, key contacts, stakeholders, so get familiar with them as well as any intel regarding individuals as quickly as his humanly possible. A good tip I picked up is if you can try to triangulate information rather than simply take it at face value. 

4.Finance. It is quite likely as a senior interim you will have budget responsibility, savings targets, invoice authorizations have and significant levels of approvals. Get familiar with your finance colleagues, budget levels, software packages. Nobody will be happy if invoices are not paid on time, or budgets are missed and savings not delivered. As an interim you will expect to deliver immediate results and have no luxury of settling in over weeks or months. 

5. Purpose. There can be a number of different reasons for interims such as task and finish roles, new appointment creations or post gap filling to name but a few, it is essential you agree the outcomes expected and realistic timelines, reporting procedures and expectations of the role most importantly you must deliver on them creating no harm to the organisation or the well-being of the staff and ultimately leave them in a better position than when you arrived.


6. Logistics. Not always relevant, if the post happens to be local to you, but if it isn't (often quite likely- we go where the work is?) and if it is in a different area to where you have worked, live or know…Think very carefully how you will get there. The client is unlikely to appreciate you arriving at 10:30 every day to their location (when not working for home), even though hybrid working is common practise. Think and agree how often you will be where they want you to be and the costs associated to be there. This could be travel, accommodation, trains, parking etc.. Make sure these parameters are agreed in advance, don't change them and again deliver on them. 

This is not meant as an exhaustive list but a starting point for anyone working as an interim or considering working in local government, from one of the best interims in the sector.  


My final soundbite is quite a good saying I have heard to describe what it is like use  an interim- be like Nanny McPhee- When you don’t want us, but need us, we will be there and when you want us, but no longer need us we must leave- or words to that affect…   


Steve Caplan 2024  

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