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Public Sector PA Conference

Public Sector PA Conference

Venue: Jury’s Inn, 245 Broad Street, Birmingham, B1 2HQ

We are delighted to bring the FIRST ever conference dedicated to EAs, PA and Assistants who work across the UK Public Sector.

A report by the ONS in December 2016, showed the public sector employs 5.436 million people from across the country. Within this number there are thousands of Assistants and Administrative professionals working hard and under exceptionally challenging environments.

This EPAA conference will look at the uniqueness of those working across the sector and is designed to inspire, empower and promote the concept of preparing and embracing change with confidence. We will conduct open conversations around the future of the profession and address issues around perception more widely.

We will also look at key developments within the sector and opportunities for growth, as well as practical solutions and resources for you to take forward in your career as a Public Sector assistant.

Why attend?

  • an opportunity to network with peers from a diverse range of organisations from across the sector
  • hear inspiring stories and different perspectives on what it takes to thrive in your role as an EA/PA or Assistant
  • gain a deeper understanding of how to manage your career under challenging circumstances
  • discussions on the latest trends and issues – offering practical guidance, support and tips

Who should attend?

This conference has been designed for Assistants who work across a variety of public sector organisations in the UK. No matter where you are on your Assistant career journey, this day will offer something for every level of the profession.

EAs and PAs who work within other sectors but are interested in making the move across to the public sector are also welcome to join us to learn, hear and experience more.


Mike Smith
Head of Secretariat & Finance | HQ Surgeon General – Ministry of Defence
Sarah Last
EA to Director of the UK Governments Stabilisation Unit Foreign Commonwealth Office
Gill Quirk
Executive Assistant, Ministry of Defence
Adam Fidler
Principal and Founder, Adept Executive Consulting | Consultant Lecturer, Pitman Training Group
Jo Brown
CEO - Dignity Works
Tom Oxley
Tom Oxley – PA to Director of Nursing and Quality – DHU Health Care CIC
Leigh Thomson-Persaud
Executive Assistant to the Chief Executive of the Civil Service
Kate Stoakes
EA to CEO, The Met Office
John Hoskison
Motivational Speaker


To find out what is happening throughout the day, simply click on a time slot…

08:15 – 09:00 | Registration opens and networking

09:00 – 09:15 | Conference welcomes Victoria Darragh, CEO of EPAA

09:15 – 09:45 | A view from the top: the journey so far and the future – Leigh Thomson-Persuad, EA to CEO of Civil                               Service

Leigh will be sharing in a candid talk, her career journey to date. She will also discuss her experiences of working across the various sectors, culminating in her current role, supporting the CEO of the civil service.

She will also be presenting her wider thoughts on continuing to develop the role of EA/PA in the public sector and looking to the future with passion and purpose.

09:45 – 10:30 | My ideal EA/PA, from a Senior Civil Servant’s perspective – Mike Smith, Head of Secretariat and                                      Finance and Civilian Workforce Adviser, Ministry of Defence

Mike will talk about his time in the MOD and various events/people that have shaped his career and thinking.

He has had the support of several PAs over the years, both indirectly and directly, and will discuss what, in his view, makes an ideal PA/EA. He will discuss the changes he has seen in the role of PA/EAs and how he sees such roles developing in the future.

Finally, he will talk about his own role with Civil Service Local and highlight the opportunities available to all civil servants to get involved and support their own personal development.

10:30 – 11:00 | Break

11:00 – 12:00 | The Public Sector PA: Challenges and considerations for job holders in times of economic austerity –                             Adam Fidler, Principal of the Adam Fidler Academy

In this inspirational and thought-provoking session, Adam Fidler highlights and discusses some of the challenges and issues with the more traditional PA role, with emphasis on the role as used in many public sector organisations.  He gives PAs and their employers alike reasons why it’s time for a rethink about the job description of the PA, particularly in hard-times of cost cutting and the drive towards operational efficiencies.  

His talk covers the following key themes: 

  • Why austerity cuts will never oust the role of the PA, but only if job holders offer the right type of support.
  • Black box versus red box activities and how Executives can get more value from their PAs by allowing them to transition into meatier and more involved roles.
  • The staid role of the PA as diary manager and why today’s new-breed of PAs/EAs are crying out for more content.  
  • Traditional and new models of support for public sector leaders: the ‘triumvirate of the Executive, Chief of Staff and PA’, versus the new ‘Executive and EA partnership’.  
  • Why public sector organisations will need to radically adapt their job descriptions for PAs if they are to retain and attract the best talent going forwards.
  • A case in point – the changing need of one Public Sector CEO – and the impact on the role of ‘support’ generally.    
  • Key messages for PAs if they want to develop their role, earn more money and realise their full potential.
  • The evolution of the PA role – the drive towards effectiveness rather than just efficiency.

12:00 – 13:00 | Workplace Bullying – what it is and what you can do – Jo Brown, CEO of Dignity Works

Bullying and burnout is affecting many EAs and PAs in the Public Sector. Last year, Executive Secretary Magazine (in partnership with EPAA and Be the Ultimate Assistant) ran a survey and found that just under 60% of UK EAs & PAs have experienced bullying and more than half of those who responded had been bullied more than 3 times during their career.

This session will look at what bullying is, how to spot it if it’s happening to you or in your organisation and the various ways you can deal with it informally and formally. We’ll also discuss what options are available if you feel it’s not safe to speak out or your company ignore it if you do.

There will be a Q&A session to finish and Jo will be available afterwards for any questions you don’t wish to ask publicly.

13:00 – 14:00 | Lunch

14:00 – 15:00 | The Importance of the Personal Assistant – John Hoskison

  • How professional sport uses a support system
  • The importance of the back room team
  • Empathy is essential
  • How to motivate yourself when the going gets tough

15:00 – 15:15 | Break

15:15 – 16:15 | Group EA/PA Panel – Tom Oxley, Gill Quirk, Kate Stoakes and Sarah Last

Our EA/PA Panel will look at the unique challenges of working as an EA or PA in the UK public sector.

Following on from earlier presentations we will further explore the future – what to expect, prepare and plan for and how to tackle the challenges within the profession with poise and positivity.

Gill Quirk – Executive Assistant at Ministry of Defense

Kate Stoakes – Executive Assistant at The Met Office

Sarah Last – Assistant to Director, The Stabilisation Unit Foreign & Commonwealth Office

Tom Oxley – PA to Director of Nursing and Quality – DHU Health Care CIC

16:15 – 17:15 | KEYNOTE SPEAKER – to be announced

17:15 – 17:30 | Victoria Darragh – closing words & charity raffle




Jurys Image

Our conference will be held at the Jury’s Inn Birmingham. Situated on Broad Street and surrounded by an abundance of restaurants and bars, Jurys Inn Birmingham offers the perfect city centre location for all guests. The hotel sits within walking distance of many of Birmingham’s attractions and a short thirteen minute walk from Birmingham New Street and other transport links.


For conference delegates who wish to stay over, the hotel is pleased to offer a competitive bedroom rate as follows:

  • £119.00 B & B on a single occupancy
  • £129.00 B & B on a double occupancy

All above rates include VAT and Wi-Fi.  There are also limited superior room upgrades which will be provided complimentary.

The hotel is also offering any delegates who need to park a reduced rate of £10.00 for 24 hours.

If you would like to take advantage of the hotel rate or parking reduction please contact Georgina Farley on the email below.



Not yet a member? Sign up for membership today and receive 15% off your membership grade and in addition to this your free place at the conference.

Please email Georgina Farley for further information.





We are delighted to be supporting our charity partner MIND at this event and will be raising vital funds and awareness throughout the day.

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