A definitive guide to interim management in the public and not-for-profit sectors

  • May 07, 2018

Working as an interim in the public and not-for-profit sectors can be a fulfilling line of work. It provides the opportunity to shape public services and work more flexibly, but it can be tough and might not be a suitable option for everyone. Here’s a summary of the key considerations to make before transitioning successfully into a career in interim management within the public and not-for-profit sectors.

Reasons to work in interim management in the public and not-for-profit sectors

  • Chance to define and shape future public services
  • Offer a different perspective, solutions and a new way of working across public and not-for-profit sectors, from delivering high-impact digital transformation projects to defining and providing integrated health and social care services within local Sustainability and Transformation Partnerships (STPs)
  • Bring highly sought after commercial skills and a wider range of skills, knowledge and experience to grow or diversify funding streams, and innovate / the way services are delivered.

Pros of being an interim manager within the public and not-for-profit sectors

  • Interim management can offer more flexibility; a successful interim has the option to pick and choose when they want to work, along with the possibility of working from home 
  • Opportunity to broaden your skillset and diversify your experience by working across different industry sectors
  • Increase your earning potential by 15%-20% compared to a permanent employee
  • Make your own mark on public services

Cons of being an interim manager within the public and not-for-profit sectors

  • Due to financial pressures, there are fewer interim opportunities now available across the public and not-for profit sectors making it a more competitive and challenging environment to work in.
  • Financial constraints caused by IR35, ministerial approval on interim roles paying over £600 per day, realignment of interim rates with permanent salaries and caps on daily rates in the NHS have impacted the value of an interim and led to talent shortages. This has subsequently resulted in delays to the delivery of transformation projects across the public and not-for-profit sectors.
  • As an interim, you’re not eligible for certain benefits like sickness and holiday pay.
  • There’s no guarantee of regular interim assignment. Make sure you plan and budget for the times when you’re out of work.

Characteristics required to be a successful interim manager in the public and not-for-profit sectors

  • Dedication and enthusiasm: You will need to possess the desire and motivation to reform or improve public services.
  • Never-give-up: Be ready to persuade and influence others to buy-in to change and don’t be put off when there are knockbacks.
  • Politically aware: Show an appreciation for how the organisation works and decisions are made. It’s important to adapt to the culture and adjust your approach to the organisation.  
  • Adapt your communication style: Adjust your communication style to your stakeholders to be able to communicate and operate effectively across the organisation.
  • Deliver quick wins: By identifying and fixing a couple of small issues quickly, this will build trust and credibility with colleagues and stakeholders and give them confidence that you’re able to deliver the assignment and results for the organisation.

7 considerations to make before becoming an interim manager in the public and not-for-profit sectors

  1. What are your reasons for becoming an interim manager in the public and not-for-profit sectors? Are you happy to work autonomously or lead changes that might be unpopular with your colleagues?
  2. Analyse and explain your unique selling points and the benefits of hiring you to employers. This will help sell yourself and show the value you can add to prospective employers.
  3. Decide on how you’ll be paid and what your remuneration will be. Many interim managers charge a daily rate and usually invoice the employer directly or through a service provider. Select a daily rate that you’ll charge an employer. If you’re uncertain what to charge, speak to one of our recruitment consultants or reach out to your professional network to find out your market value. In the public and not-for-profit sectors, the government’s IR35 rules for off-payroll working through an intermediary will apply.
  4. Save and budget for the times when you might not be working.  
  5. Decide on how you’ll set up your business. You can either register under an umbrella company or set yourself up as a Limited company. Paystream, our preferred supplier can provide you with further information about the options available.   
  6. Sometimes, interim managers work in positions that are junior to the level they worked when permanently employed. Is status important to you? Are you happy to work at a more junior level? 
  7. Don’t get caught up in office politics. You were hired to deliver a specific assignment, so stay focussed and avoid internal politics.

Over the last 18 years, Morgan Law has placed over 5,000 interim managers in the public and not-for-profit sectors. To find out about the interim management opportunities available now in the public and not-for-profit sectors, view our latest jobs or contact one of our team.