Parting Shot - Neal Stone, British Safety Council

The outgoing policy and standards director at the British Safety Council on the commercialisation of public services

Neal Stone
Neal Stone

Before I joined the British Safety Council eight years ago, I was a policy adviser for the Health and Safety Executive and expected to end my career in the civil service, where I'd spent almost 32 years.

I made the jump initially on secondment, then permanently as head of policy when I saw the BSC was serious about wanting to play a bigger role in making the persuasive moral, social and economic case for health and safety.

The BSC, like so many UK charities, is dependent on successfully delivering commercial activities. The challenge is to be able to satisfy the public benefit test while being able to compete commercially - that is non-negotiable. But over the past 20 years the dividing line between the public, private and third sectors in the delivery of services has been blurred. We are seeing growing pressure on the public sector to commercialise, and this has had an impact on the third sector.

The nine months I acted as chief executive in 2015 were the most challenging and stressful of my career, but I would do it all again. With any organisation there will be tension between executive and non- executive directors, but you have to recognise the differences in the roles and responsibilities while acknowledging the shared vision and strategic goals.

I have no regrets about moving to the sector, though early on I did wonder if I had made the right move. But I have worked with great colleagues, members and stakeholders, have been involved in delivering worthwhile initiatives and met people and visited places I could only have imagined.

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