CIPD welcomes spending review

The
Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) has welcomed Gordon
Brown’s spending review.

John
Philpott, chief economist at the CIPD said: “The headline grabbing cuts in
Civil Service jobs, and the hostile reaction this is bound to provoke, should
not deflect attention from the positive features of the chancellor’s spending
review.

"Despite
announcing a total reduction of more than 100,000 jobs as part of his overall
efficiency drive, the chancellor has promised an additional 250,000 frontline
workers by 2008 – a net gain in public sector employment.

"The
impression that Brown is taking an axe to the public sector workforce is
therefore misleading. Pruning shears would a more apt metaphor," he said.

“It
is encouraging that the chancellor has highlighted a reduction in sickness
absence as a source of efficiency savings. The CIPD will offer advice and
support to the secretary of state for work and pensions on this matter. It is
important that HR professionals are closely involved in both this and the more
general process of downsizing the public sector, to ensure that short-run cost
cutting does not harm long-term service delivery.

Philpott
said the CIPD strongly welcomed the promise in the spending review of a further
rethink on the role of centralised performance targets, along with the greater
devolution to local managers, less red tape, and the empowerment of frontline
staff and other public service professionals.

“However,
the CIPD intends to monitor how well and how quickly the Government starts to
act on these promises," Philpott warned. "There has often been a gap
between ministerial rhetoric on public service reform and what actually happens
on the ground. Only when the chancellor demonstrates that his measures are
starting to close this implementation gap will taxpayers and public sector
workers have increased trust in the Government’s ability to deliver.”

By Quentin Reade

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