An interview with Sean Hanson

WRITTEN BY Caroline Hampden-White
Pictures: Sean Hanson, Caroline Hampden-White
POSTED ON 13th May 2016

Q: What are your first impressions of LP?
Great people; I’m really impressed by the skills and professionalism and the amount of deep knowledge. Local Partnerships is a “people business”; our greatest asset is the intellectual capital of our team. I’m really humbled by how enthusiastic people are about working for Local Partnerships and the warmth of the welcome I’ve received. They really care about the work they do – it’s palpable.

Q: What gets you out of bed in the morning?
I’m full of energy and very self-motivated. I find that the drive to take on and crack challenges helps me to spring out of bed, and I’ve always been an early riser.

Q: How would you describe your leadership style?
I’m inclusive and collaborative. One of my key strengths is building strong and highly-motivated teams. I also like to be clear and open about the direction of travel that I think we should take – it helps to focus everyone on the future. I think I have a strong moral compass, which helps me balance the needs of all those around me.

Q: What’s it like moving from a large organisation to a much smaller one?
I’m still getting to know everyone at Local Partnerships, not to mention meeting more colleagues within the LGA and Treasury, so it’s a bit hard to say as yet. In my most recent role as Managing Director of Serco Citizen Services, I was responsible for 5,500 people, so there will be an adjustment. One of the things that attracted me to Local Partnerships was that I’d be able to work more closely with all the team and I’ve already received great support from everyone. Of course, in a smaller organisation you need to be more self-sufficient.

Q: Where do you want to take Local Partnerships?
We have some very clear objectives and priorities from our owners the LGA and the Treasury. I want to make sure we are connecting effectively with local authorities and other public sector organisations to see how we can better meet their current challenges, especially around transformation, cutting costs and the wider devolution agenda. I think we have a real opportunity to help people negotiate and secure stronger partnerships across boundaries – acting as honest broker if you like.

Q: What is your most proud moment, career-wise?
I’ve been in a couple of roles where I was building a team from nothing. I find it very satisfying to reach the point where that team is strong and healthy, and able to function at the top of their game. In one organisation we went through the Gateway Review process after some internal changes. We got top marks, and I was just thrilled to know I’d helped effect that transformation.

Q: How do you relax?
I’m pretty relaxed anyway; if I want to think something through, I’ll take the dog for a walk in the fields. I have great support from my family – my wife and two daughters – and I spend as much time with them as possible. We go to concerts regularly and I love music – all music, from classical to contemporary electronic music. I’m also a season ticket holder for a London football club and I’m in regular attendance for home and away matches.

⬆️ Strategic Director Martin Forbes writes for the MJ about levelling up and how to negotiate the challenges ahead. Join members of our bid review team for a webinar on 13 December to look at these issues further. Register here:

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