Guide prompts more strategic approach

Local government employers are to benefit from new workforce planning
guidance to help them adopt a more strategic approach to meeting staff

The Employers Organisation for local government (EO) has launched the Guide
to Workforce Planning in Local Authorities, which is designed to help employers
assess how many employees are, and will be needed, and to ensure sufficient and
appropriate training and development is provided.

It also aims to assist authorities in coping with peaks and troughs in
supply and demand for different skills while retaining employees, and
identifying longer-term workplace accommodation requirements.

The guide will help councils link their HR policy to business strategy to
enable the delivery of improved services.

Kelly Sandiford, assistant director of skills and development at EO, said
the document would help local authority employers create a more systematic approach
to filling skills gaps.

She said that Comprehensive Performance Assessments of local authorities had
shown that better results were achieved when local government undertook
workforce planning.

"Authorities have to recognise that they deliver their services through
their people, and without proper skills this cannot be done," she said.
"Workforce planning leads to workforce development, which in turn means
better service delivery."

Alan Warner, vice-president of the Society of Personnel Officers (Socpo) agreed
there was a need for greater workforce planning skills. He said the new
guidance highlighted the need for councils to improve staff planning at a local
level, but he warned that there was no crystal ball that could provide all the

"Councils must make sure the information they gather is relevant and
not just academic, "he said.

By Michael Millar


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