£27m fund to close local government’s skills gap

A local government management qualification is to be launched as part of a
£27m fund to improve skills in the sector.

Local government minister Nick Raynsford, launching the Capacity Building
Programme fund in London last week, said the extra money would help authorities
tackle service-crippling skills shortages and recruitment and retention

It has not been decided exactly how the fund will be divided, but Personnel
Today can reveal that the Employers’ Organisation for Local Government (EOLG)
will spend part of the cash on launching a sector-specific Masters degree in

The course will be available to existing staff and students with the aim of
promoting the sector as an employer and increasing the potential senior
management capacity.

Mick James, assistant director of recruitment and careers at the EOLG, said
course modules would include procurement, e-learning and public administration.

Other projects to be funded by the CBP fund include doubling the size of the
National Graduate Development Scheme to 100 students. The graduate scheme’s
funding has been increased by £1m to £1.8m a year. Half the students will enrol
this September, with the other half starting in March 2004.

A middle managers development programme will also be established – through
universities and assessment centres – to provide them with the knowledge and
skills to break into senior management.

Mentoring, interim management and secondment programmes will be formalised
through a new expanded Peer Support Scheme.

Raynsford told Personnel Today that HR professionals are key to making the
project a success.

"Underlying all this is one key factor – people. Ensuring the right
people are in the right place at the right time with the knowledge, skills and
behaviours necessary to deliver quality services.

"HR needs to look imaginatively at the scope for raising their game.
The next few years should see great advancements in local government HR."

By Paul Nelson


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