Archives for February 25th, 2002

LEADERSHIP: THE CHALLENGE FOR ALL?

Book News, PublicNet: 25 February, 2002

By Matthew Horne and Daniel Stedman JonesThe UK needs to recruit and develop growing numbers into management and leadership positions. One recent estimate puts the annual demand for new managers at around 400,000 between now and 2006. Recent developments in leadership theory and practice have emphasised the growing complexity of leadership. The increasing role of values, communication and interpersonal relationships and the central importance of responding to and shaping continuous change challenge all those in leadership positions. This report provides a ‘reality check’ of leadership in UK organisations. It examines the perceptions and experiences of managers from the private, public and voluntary sectors. It looks in depth at what they think good leadership should involve, and asks whether their experiences fit with their ideals and preferences. The report addresses the question of how leadership potential is best developed and the effectiveness of particular development tools.

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COUNCILS TACKLE RECRUITMENT AND RETENTION CRISIS

Headlines, PublicNet: 25 February, 2002

The continuing buoyancy of the labour market is making it increasingly difficult for local government to recruit and retain staff. The problem is more serious in London and the south east because of the high cost of living. In a move to attract staff to the vacant posts and to stem the flow away from town halls, the Society of Personnel Officers in local government has set up a working group to co-ordinate initiatives. The group is chaired by Andreas Ghosh, head of personnel and development at the London Borough of Lewisham.One of the barriers to recruitment is the perception of many would be applicants that local government is bureaucratic, that both staff and councilors are in older age groups and that a town hall is no place for people with initiative and new ideas. This image is reinforced by the Improvement and Development Agency census which shows that the average councilor is 57 and retired and that some councils do not have any councilors under 35. The working group has started a search for ways to attract young people and to change the image.

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UNIONS FAIL IN PFI VOTE

Headlines, PublicNet: 25 February, 2002

The Scottish Labour Party conference has voted in favour of policy documents proposing greater use of private finance in public sector projects, despite opposition from unions. The documents set out proposals to increase private sector involvement in schools, hospitals and local authorities. The three unions representing public service staff, UNISON. GMB and the T&GWU all voted against the proposals.Union oppositition to PFI is based not only on a belief that companies should not be allowed to make a profit from public services, but also on the conviction that PFI leads to privatization which creates a two tier workforce. Contracts for delivering public services awarded to private contracts have been used to drive down employees’ pay and conditions, such as pension rights.The protection of employee rights is thought to be the key issue which is delaying publication of the review of Best Value headed by local government Minister Nick Raynsford and launched last Autumn. The TUC want to ensure that when staff transfer to a private company they continue to receive the same pay and conditions as colleagues who remain in public service. The CBI are concerned that this all embracing approach could place undue constraints on companies.The Best Value review was originally scheduled for publication in January so that proposals could be implemented in the next round which starts in April. To allow a major recommendation to be implemented quickly it was announced on 14 February that the requirement to review all functions within 5 years will be removed. This now allows authorities to concentrate on thematic reviews around the most important or needy services. There is no indication when the results of the Raynsford review will be published.

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