Headlines: March 16th, 2005

The Gershon efficiency review and the Lyons report on the re-location of Whitehall offices to the provinces are creating new pressures across public service organisations and bringing new challenges for managers. It is being recognised increasingly that unless change management is handled effectively there will be ever increasing people problems and a loss of productivity. All public bodies from major departments to small district councils are committed to collectively make some 20 billion pounds of saving by 2007/08. It is expected that the numbers will be firmed up in the Chancellor’s Budget Statement today.The response of managers to the change pressures has become clear through the publications of sales figures by Video Arts, a leading provider of video based training programmes, which has over 4,500 public sector customers in both central and local government, the health service, police forces and the armed forces. The figures reveal a shift away from equal opportunities and managing absenteeism and towards motivational and behavioural training programmes. Examples include ‘Fish!’ which aims to change people’s perception about the jobs they do, improving teamwork, customer care, and motivation and ‘Straight Talking’ which looks at the art of assertiveness.

Martin Addison, Director of Video Arts said: “We are already seeing the knock-on effects of the Gershon and Lyons reviews on public sector training patterns. Generally speaking, when people, and indeed entire organisations are uncertain of their future, it leads to anxiety, aimlessness and a decrease in productivity. Many of our public sector customers have noticed this dip in morale and are taking positive steps to combat it through inspirational training.”