Chief of British Library sites in Boston Spa and London picks up prestigious award

The British Library's Chief Operating Officer has been recognised at the Yorkshire Director of the Year Awards.

Tuesday, 23rd November 2021, 11:51 am
Phil Spence

Phil Spence, who is based at the library’s site in Boston Spa, won the Institute of Directors's prestigious Chair’s Award. He is responsible for finance, operations, people management, technology, estates and risk management across both of the British Library sites in London and West Yorkshire.

Phil was recognised for his work leading the library’s operational response to the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020 whilst also making major progress on major capital projects in Yorkshire and London.

Phil oversaw the organisation’s transition to remote working during lockdown, and the restoration of on-site services as each lockdown eased.

In Boston Spa, he prioritised the digitisation of relevant material from the library's collection for the NHS, Public Health England and the wider medical research community, as part of the national research effort to understand and develop treatment for the virus.

In London, he worked with the nearby Francis Crick Institute and University College London Hospital to set up a Covid-19 rapid testing facility for NHS workers on library premises, with a volunteer recruitment drive leading to more than 40 British Library staff later administering vaccines at the same site.

Read More

Read More
Harrogate woman who was UK's youngest female funeral director gives an insight i...

Phil said: “As a Yorkshire person to be recognised by the IoD in the region makes me incredibly proud. This award is all the more special, as adapting and managing through the pandemic has tested all leaders so deeply. I dedicate the award to my colleagues at the British Library and to all Directors who have dedicated their working lives to making things better in a climate of so much uncertainty”.

Phil was state educated in Scarborough and has a BSc and postgraduate diploma in Applied Psychology, which he gained working with the Ministry of Defence. He has been a Director in the public and private sectors since 2000 when he was Director of Operations for the Scottish Ambulance Service, joining the library as Director of Operations in 2006.

He has held senior management consulting positions with Coopers and Lybrand (PwC), the Capita Group and DAI Inc and has worked in over 20 countries on public sector modernisation. He lives near York and has two teenage daughters.