Ireland’s managers warned over lack of efficiency

Ireland’s
senior civil servants and public service managers need to be targeted to get
the fat out of the public sector despite the buoyant growth of the Irish
economy, a former senior Guinness (now Diageo) executive told personnel
managers today.

The
Irish Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD-Ireland) annual
conference was told that there should be no hiding places for under-performing
professional and managerial staff in the Civil Service, local authorities and
health boards.

Organisational
restructuring adviser, Eddie Molloy told the conference that there were still
virtually no consequences for poor performance across the whole public sector
domain. "Accountability in semi-state companies, state bodies and the
Civil Service is still weak,” he said.

He
warned top public sector managers and professionals – such as medical
consultants, engineers, architects and accountants – that they would come under
increasing pressure to justify their positions.

Molloy
said the forthcoming Mullarkey Report on accountability would focus on
measuring the real effectiveness and output of senior public servants who have
avoided facing change.

Participants
at the conference in Galway were told that dramatic changes had been introduced
in mainly US manufacturing and technology firms in Ireland and later in service
companies such as the main banking groups.

Changes
had also been induced in some state-owned organisations which had to face
competition, such as Irish Life Assurance, Bord na Mona (a peat extraction
company) and Aer Lingus.

“University
dons, hospital consultants and others – especially protected private sector or
public sector professionals – are only beginning to even consider the
application of management disciplines to their work,” he said. “The big fat is
higher up in an organisation”.

In
recent years, frontline staff and employees in manufacturing have had to suffer
the brunt of work intensification, and more senior managers and professionals
have protected their positions.

Molloy
highlighted the amateur and transient approach to human relational management
in the public sector, where it is seen as a step on a promotions ladder and not
a specialist skill.

CIPD-Ireland
director Michael McDonnell told the conference that the European Association of
Personnel Management (EAPM) conference will be hold in Dublin in May 2005.

He
said the Irish location had been selected at the prompting of CIPD director
general Geoff Armstrong the incoming president of the World Congress of Human
Resource Management.

The
theme of the EAPM international conference will be flexibility and
competitiveness in the European workplace of the future.

By Gerald Flynn

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