Paula Woods – Director of People & Organisational Development

Position: Director of People & Organisational Development


Tell us about your career to date:

I am a “Fellow” of my professional body, the Chartered Institute of Personnel & Development (FCIPD).

I have worked in the NHS since 2004. Prior to, I worked for many years as an Assistant Director of Human Resources within the Housing Association sector in Merseyside.

I was a Deputy Director of Workforce for many years within the NHS which included ‘acting up’ to the role of Director of Workforce, before securing the role of Director of People & Organisational Development at Bridgewater in June 2020.

During my career, I have been involved in developing a range of ‘people’ services which improve work life balance, whilst ensuring quality and safe working practices for staff, patients and service users.

I have project managed a range of national and regional ‘people’ initiatives and programmes of work, requiring extensive experience in leadership and people management.


What is the most important thing for you in your role?

My portfolio of work includes, but is not limited to:

  • Human Resources
  • Recruitment
  • Leadership
  • Organisational Development
  • Education
  • Learning & Development
  • Equality & Diversity
  • Staff Health & Wellbeing
  • Communication
  • and Staff Engagement.

The role also includes overseeing external contracts for the provision of Payroll and Occupational Health Services to the Trust.


What is the biggest achievement of your career so far?

I am a very committed HR professional who strives to create the best working conditions for staff, enabling them to balance their home and work lives.

I have maintained my ‘continuous professional development’  throughout my career and am proud of the fact that I have attained ‘Fellow’ status of my professional body, requiring demonstrable years of experience, working at a strategic level.

I have developed a number of strategies and led on highly complex organisational change programmes, including extensive engagement and consultation processes.

The greatest achievement to date is to be part of the NHS’ response to the Covid-19 pandemic, ensuring that our staff’s health and wellbeing is, and continues to be, fully supported during times of uncertainty and unprecedented change and challenge.


What is your main focus for the year?

My key areas of focus for the year ahead are the implementation of the actions outlined in the NHS People Plan and the commitments outlined in ‘Our NHS People Promise’.

These focus on themes that look after our people, consider new ways of working and delivering care, attracting and growing a workforce for the future.


What do you enjoy most about your role?

I consider myself to be a role model that advocates the Trust’s values, compassionate leadership behaviours and a firm commitment to helping make the Trust ‘a great place to work’.

I enjoy being responsible for ensuring that innovative and up-to-date practices are in place to provide the very best support to staff across the Trust and to enable the delivery of high quality care, whilst ensuring that best practice, legal and statutory requirements are met and that resources are used prudently, effective and efficiently.

The Trust’s People Strategy is underpinned by the themes within the NHS People Plan, the NHS Our People Promise, the NHS Constitution and the domains of the CQC’s Well-led guidance and inspection criteria.

It is a privilege to have a portfolio of work that makes a difference to the work lives of those we engage to work at Bridgwater.