SURVEY FINDS LINK BETWEEN COUNCIL PERSONNEL POLICIES AND PERFORMANCE
A survey of the local government workforce revealed a clear link between councils with effective personnel strategies and a high score in the Comprehensive Performance Assessment. The independent survey was commissioned by the Improvement and Development Agency, Local Government Employers and SkillsPlus.
The survey showed that councils with a strategic approach to pay and rewards achieved top CPA scores. It also revealed that only 30 per cent of responding councils have developed a fully fledged pay and rewards strategy that describes how their reward structures are aligned with organisational objectives. The majority of councils continue to use length of service as a basis for increments rather than merit.
There is a strong correlation between councils with people strategies and high CPA scores and all councils with a four star CPA rating also had a people strategy for the whole authority. 83 per cent of councils have a people strategy, but this is down from 86 per cent in the previous year. Where councils have people strategies, 88 per cent were lined up to support achievement of key objectives and 69 per cent had been developed with the involvement of elected members, senior managers, frontline staff and trade unions.
The survey also identified skills gaps and 8 out of 10 councils reported one or more gaps. The largest gap was in organisational development and change management, with a 72 per cent shortfall. This was followed by business process redesign and analysis with a 61 per cent gap, Performance management with 60 per cent and people management with 59 per cent. The lowest skills gap was customer relations management with 47 per cent. The report noted that more councils need to undertake systematic skills audits and invest additional time and money in skill development if the vision of the Local Government White Paper is to be achieved.
Recruitment difficulties were most acute for Social workers with 77 per cent of councils reporting problems recruiting social workers for children and families and 60 per cent for social workers in community care. Other top occupations facing the highest recruitment difficulties ranged from environmental health, 57 per cent to school crossing patrol, 37 per cent.