Local government HR departments can now sign up to a new people management peer-review scheme that aims to help boost their capability and performance.
The Improvement and Development Agency (IDeA), which works with local government to improve management, is launching the scheme following successful pilots in five regions.
A team of experts, including HR and organisational development specialists, will spend several days observing a council’s HR activities to determine areas of good practice, and those in need of improvement.
Reviews will be done on a voluntary basis and local authorities are not forced to implement the recommendations of the final report.
Kelly Sandiford, assistant director (skills and development) at IDeA, stressed that the peer reviews were not another form of inspection for councils to fear.
“The peer review is not an inspection or audit. It is an opportunity to have a ‘critical friend’ offer a fresh perspective, assess the HR department’s strengths, and identify barriers to progress,” she said.
According to the public spending watchdog, the Audit Commission, councils that promote effective workforce strategies achieve better annual performance assessment scores.
The scheme was developed with the Public Sector People Managers’ Association. Its president, Angela O’Connor, said: “Councils are subject to inspection and that is not always helpful in sharing knowledge. The peer review will feel less threatening than a formal audit.”
IDeA will be scheduling council people management peer reviews for 2007 on a first-come, first-served basis.