The Employers Organisaton for local government has warned councils not to ignore the importance of effective people management to delivering improved local services.
Rob Pinkham, executive director of the EO, has urged council leaders and chief executives to focus attention on ensuring the effective management of staff, in the drive for improvement, efficiency and partnership working.
Speaking about the Audit Commission's 2005 proposed changes to the framework of the Comprehensive Performance Assessment, which moves towards a more stringent test, Pinkham warned that councils would need to transform the way they manage their operations.
The changes will mean councils will have to demonstrate that they are delivering value for money, providing managerial leadership, driving improvements, sharing best practice, developing more efficient services and promoting good practice among staff.
"Effective people management is vital to the successful management of this change at every level. Councils will need to invest heavily in HR," Pinkham said.
Pinkham's warning follows the launch of the EO's Survey of People Management in Local Government. The survey aims to provied accurate data to help chief executives and senior managers to target their investment at the capacity of HR services.
Pinkham said: "The survey will give us some outcome-based performance indicators to help us to measure the contribution made by specific HR initiatives.
"It will give local authorieties a clearer picture of how they manage their people and help us to develop the right kind of support for them by highlighting priority areas in relation to HR capacity-building in local government."
The EO will release the initial results of the survey in March, with the full report published later this year.