Line managers make or break changes

Line managers can make or break attempts to improve public services,
according to the director of people and development for the Audit Commission.

Trish Longdon said the Government’s election pledge to transform public
services had placed the public sector under increasing pressure to change.

She told delegates that HR must inform line managers of what their
organisation wants to improve and why change is necessary.

She said, "We have to communicate. What matters to people is what their
manager tells them. We have to engage managers and they have to engage their
staff. Our line managers can make or break change."

Longdon explained that managers need to be trained and developed if radical
improvements to the way services are delivered are to be achieved.

"If you do not invest in change not just money but people’s time, it
will not happen," she said.

She stressed that transformation of public services needs to be supported by
strong leadership and a commitment throughout the organisation to see the
process through.

"There is an abundance of evidence which shows that if you set targets
and then ignore them so will everybody else," she said.

Longdon told delegates to focus on what areas they want to improve and not
try to improve all service areas at once.

"People who understand people development and understand their staff
should be involved at a strategic level when polices are being developed,"
she said.

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