Capita first came on site as RPO provider to Essex County Council in 2008.

Now eight years on, and ahead of the In-house Recruitment Awards, I got to speak to Danni Foster, Continuous Improvement Manager at Capita and part of the Essex Recruitment Team.

Of the 40-strong team, around half work on value-added and candidate care services

Working in partnership – more than an RPO

Throughout my call with Danni, it was clear just how robust the recruitment team’s working relationship is with Essex County Council.

With over eight years spent working together, Danni explained how the relationship has evolved from purely transactional to the more consultative, holistic, collaborative partnership of today.

Outcomes and success measures are agreed jointly and there is a close working relationship with the Essex County Council HR function and senior decision makers across the organisation. They work collaboratively on a complex resourcing strategy, with multiple work-streams designed to ensure ECC is at the forefront of attraction and workforce planning.

The use of innovative technology underpins strategies; recent implementations include video interviewing, jointly integrated HR systems, candidate relationship management software and talent pooling technology.

One of the largest local authorities in England, Essex County Council (ECC) recruits talent across all sectors of the organisation, including challenging areas such as Qualified Social Care, finance, programme management, digital experts and HR / change professionals.  It this variety that makes the partnership so unique, and the strategies so agile, to ensure the needs of an operational country park can be met just as well as the need for senior hires throughout the organisation.

The Essex Recruitment Team source talent to support the Council’s ongoing transformation to a commercial organisation, looking for professionals from all sectors to drive its success. The team create bespoke blended attraction campaigns that centre on positive messages of dynamic people, career progression and agile teams and a forward thinking commercial organisation.

These messages are underpinned by a strong employer brand for Essex County Council and collaboration with senior stakeholders across all functions, who understand how important a focus on recruitment and retention is to deliver the best possible outcome for the citizens of Essex.

The team use a research based model, when faced with hard-to-fill roles. They take the time to understand what matters to the passive candidate market, why they move roles and what would compel them to apply for a role with Essex County Council. With this approach, the Essex Recruitment Team can understand whether the Council’s value proposition (VP) matches candidates’ vision and values across all ECC’s functions

Closing thoughts

When I asked Danni for her parting advice for hard-to-fill public sector roles, she shared this with me: “You have to know your market. Know your workforce. And know your own strengths and weaknesses. We recognise that today’s talent is less and less active in seeking roles, so it’s about tapping in to that passive market and ensuring that our offering attracts only the best talent available.”

Danni also left me with her thoughts on the importance of diversity in public sector organisations. “Understand the value of diversity in your organisation. Remain open-minded about talent – it can be very empowering. In a challenging sector, you need to be prepared to adapt and respond to an ever-changing population and their needs.”

Shortlisted for the ‘Best Public Sector/Not-for-Profit Team’, we wish Danni and her colleagues at Capita Resourcing Solutions, in partnership with Essex County Council, the very best of luck at this year’s In-house Recruitment Network Awards!

Find out more

Read our other finalists’ case studies! Begin with Mencap…

…and then check out North Yorkshire County Council’s story

Find out about the other awards we’re sponsoring this year…


About the author

Tristan Potter

Tristan has a decade's worth of experience writing content and copy for organisations across Bristol and the Southwest of England. He has written on a diverse range of topics, including technology, philosophy, politics, and recruitment. His writing has appeared in The Drum, HR Grapevine, and The Guardian, among other publications. He joined Hireserve in March 2022.