Headlines: September 13th, 2004

More needs to be done to involve trade unions and staff in the reform of public services, according to a report from the Public Services Forum published by the Cabinet Office. The Forum carried out its first audit of staff involvement and found there was scope for improvement in communicating and involving staff in the case for reform to improve public services for all.The report says there is, though, growing evidence that organisations are transforming the way they involve staff in reform. The Forum commissioned ten case studies to identify innovative practices in engaging trade unions and employees. These, it said, demonstrated that where staff are effectively engaged in the process public services could be improved.

The Cabinet Office said Government and the unions would go on working together to ensure the report’s findings and the best practice it had identified were shared with all public services. The recommendations are to be taken forward by a working group of the TUC, the Cabinet Office and public sector employers. The recommendations will be piloted across a number of organisations including the NHS and local government with the aim of making managers and unions better able to involve staff at the front line in change and service improvement.

The Prime Minister’s Office of Public Services Reform commissioned The Work Foundation to conduct the research on behalf of the Forum, which was set up in September 2003 to improve communication between Government, public service employers and trade unions on the issues of reform of services to improve delivery and the citizen’s experience of public services.