Headlines: October 21st, 2010

The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development has warned that excellent people management will be crucial for public services to survive the cuts in the Spending Review.

The Institute believes that the unprecedented scale of change set out in the Spending Review cannot be delivered without a concerted and committed focus on supporting, bolstering and improving public sector management capability. This view is based on research showing that while the unions cannot rely on public sympathy to face down the Government’s cuts through sustained strike action, ministers cannot rely on limited enthusiasm for strikes to deliver their vision of reformed, streamlined and diversified public service delivery.

Although employee morale and engagement is bound to suffer in the face of this scale of cuts, the Institute is urging those with responsibility for public sector management, up to and including ministers, not to lose sight of the possibilities and opportunities to genuinely engage and enthuse public sector workers about new ways of working and to secure buy-in to new means of service delivery.

Mike Emmott of the Institute said: “Front-line commitment and industrial harmony can only be delivered by persuasive messages about why the cuts are needed, and an unswerving focus on excellent day to day management of the ‘survivors’. Effective and sustained change will only happen in organisations where senior leaders show a sustained commitment to building staff engagement to ensure there is buy-in to change and new ways of working.”

The Institute has also warned that the estimate of 450,000 job losses in the public sector made by the Office for Budget Responsibility, could be wide of the mark. The figure could be closer to 750,000.