HR fears more red tape from council NTO plan

Council HR professionals have
criticised the Local Government NTO’s new plan for developing the skills of
public sector employees, claiming that it has been released too late and
represents more red tape.

The plan, called
Developing a High Performance Culture, has four key recommendations for HR
teams and 27 targets. Its aim is to improve the recruitment, retention and
development of employees to lower council skill shortages.

The four key
recommendations include councils obtaining Investors in People status, adopting
National Occupational Standards to develop employees’ skills, instigating
regularly reviewed individual development plans and enabling staff to obtain
vocational qualifications.

Many local government
HR professionals argue that the key recommendations have been released too
late, with many already being in use.

Dilys Wynn, head of HR
at Worcestershire County Council, said, "It seems to be shutting the
stable door after the horse has already bolted."

Others claim with Best
Value and this month’s implementation of the Race Relations (Amendment) Act,
the plan’s targets simply represent more red tape.

Janvier Hyde, HR
manager at Nuneaton and Bedworth Borough Council, said, "We have targets
coming out of our ears and do not need any more. LGNTO has missed the boat with
the targets as councils are already using these measures."

Local government
HRgroup Socpo, however, supports the plan. President Keith Handley said,
"To combat the growing recruitment and retention difficulties we need to
offer staff more personal development. Reducing training budgets has often been
the easy option for authorities facing cutbacks. The recommendations mean we
won’t just be paying lip service."

LGNTO’s chairman John
Stocks thinks the plan will tackle skills shortages. He said, "To create a
high-performance culture we need to attract and keep people with ability and
enthusiasm."

By Paul Nelson

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