Kay Eldergill

The importance of integrity

22 April 2013

Kay Eldergill, Met Office HR Director, looks at why people can rely on the Met Office.

Working on behalf of the British public, high standards are expected. Delivering on those expectations is fundamental to people's trust in the Met Office and to ensuring that we deliver services that are valued by society and our customers. For instance, if we say it is going to snow, it is important that people believe us, as lives could depend on it.

Trust is something that happens on a personal, human level. From individuals to multinational companies, people rely on the Met Office. They believe in our ability, integrity and reliability. To me it is clear that people trust not only the Met Office as an organisation, but our staff as individuals.

For many of us, working at the Met Office is not just a job. People here love what they do; it is a passion and a way of life. It's that kind of dedication that leads to Professor Brian Golding being awarded an OBE in the New Year's Honours and the Met Office winning the UK IT industry awards.

Despite recognition that we're at the top of our game, nobody here just rests on their laurels; instead they are constantly striving to deliver more and to continually improve. By committing to our new corporate charity, WaterAid, we are demonstrating our desire to improve people's lives - not just with our day to day forecasting, but internationally.

One important reason why people trust us is our integrity which is visible in our eagerness to do the best for other people. We know that it is our actions - the honesty and reliability of our people - that make the difference. The way we work, how we treat people externally, is a manifestation of how we treat each other internally.

The worth of our warnings was clear during the wet weather of 2012 and snow in January. None of this can be achieved without functioning as a team. This applies both within the Met Office and externally, working in collaboration, for example, through our partnership with the Environment Agency in the Flood Forecasting Centre, and with others through the Natural Hazards Partnership (NHP). This is also true in the case of meteorological research flights for which we work closely with the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC).

Successful teamwork depends on building relationships, as typified by Alex Hill, the Met Office Chief Government Advisor for Scotland and Northern Ireland. Through our collective experience and expertise we add value to help people make wiser decisions.

We also develop specific knowledge for others. Often, the advice we provide is for complex and particular environments, such as our marine offshore consultancy work. Our quality of service is something others are interested to learn from. For instance, we're passing on our knowledge to others through a new Masters course for international students. In that way we support career development, not only for our own staff, but for others all around the world.

Much of our work has a strong international flavour. Hurricane Sandy involved working with others all over the globe. Such a powerful storm brings weather to the forefront of people's minds and emphasises the important role of a national weather service. The variety of our work reflects the diverse skills of our staff. We fulfil a variety of international requirements, including helping developing counties plan for the possible impacts of a more volatile climate.

All our relationships are based on mutual respect. In that way, we are trusted partners, often guiding but also learning from others. People put their faith in us, confident that we will deliver, time and time again. We will continue to strive to ensure we maintain that trust.

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