Introducing Paul Dransfield
This is my first ever attempt at a blog. Depending on how it goes it may be my last!
I am Paul Dransfield. I’ve been at Birmingham City Council since 2007, starting as the Council’s Finance Director under the title of Strategic Director of Resources which also extended into managing a number of corporate services and latterly being Deputy Chief Executive which included a managerial role over the Council’s economic function.
During that time I have had an interest in the delivery of major projects and have had the pleasure and sometimes the pain of being involved in some really big projects.
I have recently taken up a role which involves working on major projects full time. Birmingham, and more widely the West Midlands Region has a series of big projects to deliver and we felt it was time to have a more dedicated role working on those rather than having to do them on top of the day job, either badly or where the day job suffers.
Ironically, that opportunity for me has been made even more pleasing that it has created opportunities for others. I am particularly pleased that both Jon Warlow and Waheed Nazir have been given a place in the Corporate Management Team. Both worked with and for me, although often I felt I worked for them! There is no greater feeling than to see your own staff move alongside and even overtake you in my view. I am taking great pleasure from that.
I am also really pleased to see my change in role provide an opportunity for us to recruit Angela Probert as the Strategic Director for Change from nearby Nottingham Council. She has only been here a few weeks but I can see the difference she is making in the management team, she brings a really positive outlook on things. I am hoping she will be able to sort out all the corporate niggles people have that I didn’t quite achieve.
What this does mean for me is that I have to sing for my supper. The budget for my salary has gone towards funding the above posts and others across the organisation so I now have to earn my salary through the work I do across a number of projects. This means the projects are going to have to need my skills and often I am going to have to deliver efficiencies in the projects to fund my costs.
Another part of being a Programme and Project Director is that I am not intending to build an empire of people working for me in a traditional hierarchical way. I aim to gather expertise from around the Council, from other Councils and partners to work with me on the key projects. I will however, retain the line management of our Property Services Director, Peter Jones, whose team will also have a significant role in major programmes and project delivery.
So what do I think I will be doing over the next months or years?
My initial work programme looks something like this….
- Delivery Director for the £4.4bn HS2 Growth Strategy Programme over the next 10 years which will see the Curzon Street and Digbeth area transformed, create a new business, entertainment and living area around the Solihull Interchange Station, transform the East of Birmingham through a new metro link and improve transport connectivity across the West Midlands.
- Continuing to work as a Senior Director for the £600m Paradise Circus redevelopment scheme which is underway.
- Completing the New Street Gateway Project where I chaired the Project Board for 7 years!
- Managing the relocation of the Wholesale Markets and then delivering the transformation of the Smithfield area into a new exciting quarter for the City focussed on family leisure and entertainment.
- Deliver a new Life Sciences campus in Selly Oak.
- Support the Library of Birmingham to have a sustainable future, starting off with the relocation of the Brasshouse Language Centre into the library.
- Supporting a new sustainable approach to funding culture and the arts.
- Continuing as a Director of Birmingham Airport to make sure the airport continues to grow and be a key part to the City and the Regions’ economy.
- Act as a Director on the Board of a joint venture with the Canals and Rivers Trust to deliver a large scale housing and regeneration project at Icknield Port Loop.
- Oversee the coordination of a significant programme of Public Realm works in the City Centre.
- And of course whatever else my chief executive asks me to do!
One thing I do want to point out is that whilst a lot of the projects are exciting and lead to shiny new buildings which are transforming the skyline of the city, that isn’t what they are about to me. These projects are about creating sustainable economic growth and jobs which then directly leads to Birmingham and the wider region being more economically successful. This in turn creates opportunities for all our citizens to prosper and ultimately reduces their call on public expenditure.
Good blogs I am led to believe should have some pictures to break up the words. I have provided the pictures and if they are there I hope you enjoy them, if they are not then I’ve bust the memory limit! Somebody says I need to set up a Pinterest account to post all the photos. I would if I knew what it was!
My final words are to thank all the people that I have had the pleasure of working with in my previous role and to reassure those who might think I might not play my full strategic role in the Corporate Management Team going forward, I will be! I don’t know where to charge my time for that to yet though! Better go and ask the Finance Director!