Public sector moving in the right direction

More
HR professionals than ever before are now employed in the public sector –
numbers have doubled in recent years.

As
our coverage in this special issue reveals, this large, disparate HR community
faces huge people management challenges if services are to truly improve, and
yet it remains positive about the job it has to do. Such pride and optimism is
not blind naivety – almost half of those who have given us their views have
experience of working in the private sector too, so they are able to make direct
comparisons.  

An
unprecedented 932 readers took part in our research (an impressive 17 per cent
response rate) from all parts of the sector. Far from painting a picture of
complete doom and gloom, they gave us a hopeful, realistic message. This isn’t
a beleaguered workforce; it is anxious to confront the challenges and it’s
passionate about the work.

This
magazine genuinely believes that public sector HR has the capacity and
capability to live up to the mammoth task ahead. It needs all the support it
can get in becoming obsessive about core problems such as efficiency,
organisational change and improving performance.    

Much
has been achieved in turning the public sector into a fairer, more equitable
environment as befits Europe’s largest employer. But progress has been going at
a snail’s pace in some quarters, and the Government and employees are
understandably impatient. HR may think funding has been inadequate, yet in the
consumer’s and the Government’s eyes, it has been massive.

Intellectually
and from a management point of view, there is still a mountain to climb, and
the sector needs talent to help it along. Some of HR’s most dynamic, committed
and versatile directors are working in the sector, but they are too few in
number. There are nowhere near enough strong role models quickening the pace of
change, setting the vision and giving the sector the contemporary image it
requires to attract and retain the top talent. 
 

Challenging
the status quo and recruiting from the private sector has to be the way
forward.  The public sector has a lot
going for it – not least levels of commitment that others can only dream about.

Jane
King, editor

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