Socpo calls for services to reflect 24/7 society

Local
government employers are calling for staff to move away from the nine-to-five
working culture so services can run on a timetable for the public, rather than
for staff.

Council
personnel chiefs told the Local Government Pay Commission that significant
changes to pay, conditions and working patterns were needed to modernise public
services.

Alan
Warner, vice-president of the Society of Chief Personnel Officers (Socpo), said
changes to remuneration and overtime were required to ensure that local government
services reflect the changing needs of the public.

 "Something has to change in local
government. What we’re saying is there needs to be greater flexibility. Certain
conditions of service have been around since the 1940s," he said.

 "The public’s requirements for services
have changed and we live in a 24/7 society. We need modernisation so we can
have a service that reflects the year 2003 and beyond," he said.

Warner
said employers were incurring huge costs through offering extended services,
because of overtime and additional payments to staff.

Socpo
called on the commission to make national pay deals less prescriptive, allowing
greater flexibility locally to reflect different geographical markets, needs
and circumstances.

 "One size does not fit all because the
labour market in Surrey is totally different to that in Northumberland,"
he added.

He
said poor pay is not the only issue hampering recruitment and retention and in
some cases, such as social work, problems stem from a poor image and a lack of
training.

Key
recommendations


National collective bargaining should stay


More pay flexibility local level


Better training


Different working patterns

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