Headlines: February 4th, 2010

Senior managers in the public sector do not think they have the skills they need to deliver services spending cuts start to be felt this year. The doubts have been raised in a survey of chief executives and managers in public organizations by Hays, the public services recruiting experts.

Results from the study show just 16 per cent of managers believed their organisations had the resources to manage a reduced budget this year and among junior staff the figure fell to just 12 per cent. A fifth of more junior staff did not consider the organisations they worked for had a clear strategy to cope with offering more services with fewer resources.

More than two-thirds of managers and junior staff taking part in the poll saw an increasing role for private business in helping the public sector to meet its obligations. More than half of them, however, saw this as a positive development either completely or to some extent. They also believed they should be looking to the private sector for leadership guidance. The majority of managers also reported that they were being encouraged to look outside the public sector for solutions to their management and delivery problems.

The Hays Public Services Leadership Survey found that just over three-quarters of managers had a framework in place to identify competencies which would make them better leaders but more than a third said leadership training programmes were ineffective or not available to them.

Andy Robling, Public Services Director at Hays said: “We found that everyone knows what good leadership looks like, but there are gaps in the training needed to acquire those skills.” Conversations with public sector chief executives had also revealed unease about how they would be able to balance cuts and delivering services.