Civil Service job cuts make HR vital for driving change

The Government must invest in public sector HR if its proposed reforms and
job cuts announced in the Budget are to succeed.

This is the view of senior HR figures who are convinced that HR will have a
crucial role in managing the 40,000 job losses announced by the chancellor last
week.

Gordon Brown wants to improve efficiency in the public sector and will axe
thousands of civil service jobs as part of the streamlining exercise.

These cuts, coupled with large scale relocation plans proposed by the Lyons
Report will place huge importance on HR professionals in the Civil Service.

John Philpott, chief economist at the Chartered Institute of Personnel and
Development (CIPD) said civil service mandarins must now invest in HR to ensure
the changes are managed effectively.

"In his response to the Lyons and Gershon reviews, the chancellor
talked about considerable investment in IT to allow objectives to be achieved.
Investment in HR should also be prioritised if the objectives are to be
delivered," he said.

Philpott said the Government must now learn the lessons of similar
experiences in the private sector and recognise that the ‘people’ element of
any change is crucial.

"When undergoing major change it’s important to win hearts and minds to
ensure the remaining workforce is motivated. In the public sector, where the
pace of change is traditionally slower, this will need particular
attention," he added.

The cuts will come primarily from the Department of Work and Pensions where
around 30,000 staff will go and through a merger of the Inland Revenue and
Customs & Excise, which will shed 10,000 workers.

However, the Public and Commercial Services trade union (PCS) and the TUC
both criticised the job cuts and the way they where announced to staff.

PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka believes the swinging cuts will also
damage services.

"For thousands of hard-working staff to hear that they are losing their
jobs totally out of the blue, without consultation, is unacceptable," he
said.

The Budget also contained a range of employment changes including tax-free
childcare vouchers, measures to drive up skills and more investment in
education.

By Ross Wigham & Mike Berry

For full Budget analysis go to www.personneltoday.com/features

HR factfile: the Budget

– Around 40,000 civil service jobs to go

– Tax and National Insurance-free childcare vouchers

– Maximum salary for pension contributions raised to £102,000

– Every secondary school to be refurbished by 2015

– Productivity drive focusing on increasing skills

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