Deborah Saville - Group Operations Manager (Health and safety)
Deborah Saville explains how her career has evolved at Clarion Housing Group and how her work helps colleagues and customers right across the business.
What is your current role?
My current role is Group Operations Manager for health and safety. It’s very varied and involves providing guidance to the business on managing key health and safety risk areas affecting our residents, our properties and our staff. This could involve writing new policy, procedure and guidance documents, providing training, conducting investigations and audits, and liaising with the Health and Safety Executive. I’m fortunate to manage a great team that’s passionate about the service it provides.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
I think the thing I like most about working for Clarion Housing is the variety. One day I might be assisting a colleague experiencing discomfort at their workstation and then filming a video to promote wellbeing, or I might be required to present a proposed new process to the Group Executive Team. Literally, no two days are ever the same and my role allows me to interact with colleagues from across all areas of the business.
What is the most interesting thing you’ve worked on at Clarion Housing?
I enjoy being able to influence and implement new initiatives or processes to better support colleagues. A great example of this is Wellbeing Matters, our new strategy for supporting employee wellbeing. As part of this, I created an intranet group site bringing together resources, guidance and assistance relating to all aspects of wellbeing to make it more accessible. I’m excited about future wellbeing initiatives as this is an area I’m very passionate about.
How has your career developed with Clarion Housing?
I joined the business in July 2012 as a safety officer and quickly became interested in streamlining and standardising some of the team’s existing processes. I was promoted to Health and Safety Compliance Manager in 2014 and later took on responsibility for both health and safety operations and compliance. Due to changes within the business, my job title and remit have evolved over time and now I’m very pleased to include wellbeing as part of my role.
I worked as a safety officer prior to joining Clarion Housing and I’ve always had a tendency to work in large organisations. I was drawn by the appeal of working within a social housing organisation and, having started work, was pleased my input was listened to and recognised. I feel I’ve been able to help shape the way health, safety and now wellbeing are managed and supported within Clarion Housing.
What advice would you give to someone looking to join your team?
Don’t be put off by outdated concepts of what health and safety might involve: I guarantee it’s a lot more diverse and interesting than you might think.
What is your favourite work memory?
I have lots of good memories, so it’s hard to pick one. I hadn’t been in the team long and we entered the photo competition for our directorate team day. Believe it or not, it’s pretty difficult to come up with amusing health and safety photos… But there I was with my new team dressed as a school kid in a playground, pretending to play conkers (the actual conkers were photoshopped in after – safety first!), while my line manager stood there with a traffic cone on his head. This was followed by a change of outfit and an array of poses with snow shovels – with the photo shoot culminating in us dancing around a member of the team dressed as a maypole complete with hazard tape ribbons. While the make-up of the team has changed over the years, the close bond and sense of fun haven’t changed at all.
Tell us an interesting fact about you.
I’m an avid motorcyclist and am the current chair of my local motorbike club. I used to ride Harley’s, but I’m now on a Triumph Tiger 800 which is a lot easier to get round some of the tight switchbacks encountered in Europe.