Better public services hinges on leadership

people management must be at the centre of the drive for continuing service
improvement in the public sector, says an Audit Commission report.

study, Managing People, is compiled from findings of local authorities’ first
round of comprehensive performance assessments (CPAs). It shows high- scoring
councils link people strategies to corporate objectives to achieve high

commission identifies six factors critical to successful people management:
empowering leadership, people management strategies, managing performance,
capacity building, workforce diversity and recruitment and retention.

report finds that developing and motivating staff is the responsibility of
managers at all levels in an organisation and is not the sole prerogative of HR.

Denison, chair of the task team for CPA run by the Society of Personnel
Officers’ (Socpo), which was consulted on the research, agreed with the
critical success factors highlighted by the commission.

she warned processes must not become more important than outcomes. "We
have to  make sure authorities modernise
their people and management procedures and create policy and procedural
frameworks to support innovation," she said. "We must keep an eye on
the outcome. The process should not be an end in itself."

Davies, senior specialist at the Audit Commission, said the report shows the
correct application of people policies is critical to improving services and
would form a key component of future assessment frameworks.

of good practice in the report included Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council’s
diversity policy, which uses scrutiny committees and internal and external
interest groups to promote the policy.

London Borough of Ealing was singled out over recruitment and retention, after
establishing its own employment bureau to address shortages of teachers, social
workers and IT specialists.

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