Fiona Limb, TCF Programme Manager, Delivery
"Despite being a growing and diverse and extremely busy directorate people take the time to get to know you on both a professional and personal level. If I ever have a question or need some advice on something, I know that there is someone who will be able to help, and they will take the time to work through a problem with me."
Can you tell me about your career background, progression and how you feel that has prepared you for the job you currently do?
During completing an Undergraduate Degree in environmental Sciences and Geography I was given the opportunity to do a year work placement on an EU funded project promoting sustainable travel in workplaces. This role was based within the Transport Planning team at Bradford Council, as part of this role I also got involved in assisting with the development and delivery of major projects in Bradford including the Manchester Road Guided busway. After that placement I knew that this was the sector that I wanted to work in. Following Graduation, I was fortunate to get a role back in the same team and undertook a master’s degree in Transport Planning whilst gathering experience in both Transport Policy and project development and delivery. During my 13 years at Bradford I worked on a range of workstreams including the Local Plan, key local masterplans, cycling strategies, highways improvement schemes as well as sustainable and accessible transport improvements. One of the key projects I was involved in while at Bradford was the development of the DfT bid for Cycle City Ambition Grant Funding, which was an ambitious proposal to develop the region’s first Cycle Superhighway linking Leeds and Bradford as well as a range of complementary projects, known as the CityConnect. I sat on the Programme board for this flagship programme as a Project Executive for one of the projects and gained experience and knowledge in Programme Management. Following a second successful bid to DfT for further CCAG funding I moved to the Combined Authority to Programme manage this extended CityConnect Programme and have been in this role for the past five years. More latterly, I was asked to get involved in the emerging work undertaken by colleagues in the Policy Directorate to develop and shape the Leeds City Region’s bid for Transforming Cities Funding (TCF). This has now resulted in me moving onto the TCF Programme as Programme Manger full time. This early development work has involved me establishing the current small team, shaping the Governance arrangements with our Partners, Overseeing the wider resource plan, Commissioning Consultants (WSP) to act as our initial Strategic Development Partner and generally getting all the processes and structures in place so we are ready to deliver this ambitious programme by March 2023.
What does your job involve and what do you enjoy about it?
I am currently working as a Programme Manager on the new TCF Programme. I am very lucky in that I have been involved in the development of the programme from the first announcement of the funding by DfT so feel well prepared for the task ahead. I initially put myself forward as the ‘Delivery rep’ working with colleagues in Policy to help shape the programme from a delivery perspective, this involved quite a lot of “but what about this…and have you thought about that….” type questions for partners as they were putting schemes forward to be included for consideration. I also took a lead on developing the Commercial and Management cases for the Business Case Submission to Government.
The early development work I have led has included establishing the current small team, shaping the Governance arrangements with our Partners, Overseeing the wider resource plan, Commissioning Consultants (WSP) to act as our initial Strategic Development Partner and generally getting all the processes and structures in place so we are ready to deliver this ambitious programme by March 2023.
My role involves working with a range of partners to develop and manage the Programme from inception through to delivery, on a day to day basis this includes providing guidance on the development of projects and key aspects of their individual business cases, providing updates on progress to managers, Partners and Politicians, liaising with our PMA team on Project Assurance and decision making, writing and presenting reports to decision makers on aspects such as resourcing, procurement and risk. Managing the programme budget and ensuring that project costs are realistic and the risks to delivery are manageable.
I manage the TCF Programme team as it stands and work with the team to allocate key roles and tasks as well as working closely with WSP who are currently providing some support with Programme Management and direct project support for our Partners.
Despite being a growing and diverse and extremely busy directorate people take the time to get to know you on both a professional and personal level. If I ever have a question or need some advice on something, I know that there is someone who will be able to help, and they will take the time to work through a problem with me.TCF Programme Manager
How do you find working alongside your team and the wider directorate?
The TCF team as it stands is relatively small and new team with a lot of drive and focus, we are part of the wider Transport Partnerships team in the Delivery Directorate who are all very, friendly and knowledgeable and supportive. Despite being a growing and diverse and extremely busy directorate people take the time to get to know you on both a professional and personal level. If I ever have a question or need some advice on something, I know that there is someone who will be able to help, and they will take the time to work through a problem with me. We are a sociable lot with a great can do team attitude, for example recently the whole directorate took time out to volunteer for the Canal and Rivers Trust tidying and painting at Five Rise locks and there are regular social activities you can join in with if you want, running clubs, lunch time get togethers as well as the 4 O’clock Friday Pint…
What training / learning opportunities have you taken part in whilst at the Combined Authority?
The CA is a great place for learning through both formal training and more informal on-the-job opportunities. There is a culture of growing its staff and Continuing Professional Development. I have lost count of the number of formal and informal training opportunities I have taken part in but off the top of my head I have been fortunate to complete training on Prince2, MSP, CDM, Contract Management and Better Business Cases. As well as a range of courses and seminars for managers of people including dealing with issues such as mental health and managing performance.
What do you like most about working for the Combined Authority?
I am a strong believer in striving to create a better society and opportunities for all as well as creating a sustainable attractive environment. I feel really privileged to be working on projects and programmes with that in their objectives and have seen results first-hand when they have been completed. For example, on the CityConnect programme we have followed up on case studies of people who are using the new infrastructure we built to get to work and college, help meet their health goals or just get out and about more.
Imagine you could go back in time to when you first started in your current role – what tips/advice would you give yourself?
Don’t expect things to go to plan, be adaptable to change and help others to do the same, managing people as well as projects is really rewarding.