CBI calls for better public sector HR management

Good people-management, rather than sweeping cost cuts, must be at the heart of the government’s 2007 comprehensive spending review, according to the CBI.

Next year’s review will be the first in a decade.

In a briefing paper seen by Personnel Today, the UK’s largest employer lobby group says the debate about public services has been too focused on cash going into services, rather than the outcomes that spending achieves.

It uses the failure to deport foreign prisoners to illustrate that “failures did not necessarily result from a lack of policy coherence the problem lay in not having the management in place to deliver that policy”.

The CBI also highlights government figures that show public sector pay growth outstripping the private sector and the economy as a whole, but with no tangible increase in productivity.

Neil Bentley, director of public services policy at the CBI, said there should be a radical change in accountability for senior public sector managers, with rewards when they get it right and sanctions when they fail.

“Every good HR professional knows that is what gives the incentive to provide good leadership performance,” he told Personnel Today.

The briefing paper says there should be a ‘risk-and-reward framework’ for staff across the public sector, to reward those who innovate and deliver on goals. It calls for absence management policies to cut the average 8.5 days sick leave a year each public sector employee takes.

A Cabinet Office spokesman said the Civil Service already had strong performance management systems, focused on the “achievement of deliverables”, but he said civil servants were constantly looking to improve performance management.

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