Dealing with forthcoming spending cuts is the big challenge facing public sector HR professionals over coming years. But are they up to it? The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) doesn't think so; its report warned of a 'people management crisis' that threatened effective public service delivery as we move into more austere times.
The report states: "There are serious question marks over the public sector's people management capability to emulate the best of the private sector response to adversity. While there are excellent managers and examples of great performance in the public sector... [it] is in urgent need of improvement."
Many in the HR community will be tired of hearing the line that private sector equals good, public sector equals bad. While it's true there is room for improvement, the same can definitely be said of some private sector employers. Our feature 'Public sector HR: tough times ahead', provides a real feeling that HR will not be found wanting when spending cuts bite.
Change is coming though, and public sector HR leaders will have to make sure they are at the centre of discussions on new service delivery models and how the function operates in the future.
There is certainly acknowledgement by some that the HR profession in the public sector is at a tipping point and things will look very different in, say, 10 years' time. It looks like we're set for an interesting - but bumpy - ride.