Abstracts: July 7th, 2004

The Survey seeks to evaluate the effects of the Best Value regime and other performance initiatives on staff perceptions of their working environment and organisational performance. It found that line managers tend to seek workers’ views when faced with service-related problems, but in a significant number of cases, these views are not always seen as being taken seriously. There was some evidence that line managers and staff trusted each other, but the results suggest that many local government workers do not trust elected members. This was attributed to the political priorities facing members, and their focus on short-term results in an attempt to win public support. The predominant culture within most authorities is not one of blame and managers were reportedly not quick to identify those who were responsible for errors. Those working in ‘Excellent’ authorities were better informed of what was going on when compared with those working in lower rated authorities.Service standards were found to be high and driven by the needs and aspirations of service users and local people. However, low staffing levels, high bureaucracy and inadequate equipment were seen as undermining improvements achieved through enhanced staff skills. The issue of under-staffing was perceived to be less acute in ‘Excellent’ authorities and more pronounced in ‘Poor’ authorities. ‘Excellent’ authorities were also found to provide staff with the training needed to achieve high standards of service.

Published by the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister and available at: http://www.odpm.gov.uk/stellent/groups/odpm_localgov/documents/page/odpm_locgov_028156.pdf