Joint working between NHS and local authorities could lead to cuts in HR jobs

Increasing levels of joint working between NHS trusts and local councils could result in HR jobs being lost in both sectors, a report has suggested.

A study of chief executives of primary care trusts (PCTs) by the NHS Confederation – the membership body that represents organisations across the health service – found far greater potential for partnership working than is happening at present.

Just 10% of PCTs and local authorities share back-office functions, despite a high percentage of respondents reporting that council staff work in both locations.

“Sharing back-office functions, such as HR, IT and administration, can potentially halve overhead costs,” the report said.

“It can also help to build relationships between the PCT and the local authority.”

But the report acknowledged that the current financial difficulties facing both sectors were making partnership working more challenging.

David Stout, director of the PCT Network, said: “Factors such as NHS deficits, poor communication and local bureaucracy have all been given as reasons why joint projects have broken down.”

A separate report by the Improvement and Development Agency found shared services and outsourcing will shrink the local government workforce over the next three years.

The survey of chief executives and HR directors found that the professional areas hardest hit would be HR, training, IT, finance, administration, and facilities and property management.

A “small but better paid, more strategic, professional elite” will remain within councils in each discipline.

More HR staff face axe

HR professionals could be among 600 workers facing the axe at Severn Trent Water, after the utility giant announced plans to reduce its workforce by 10% over five years.

The HR function at Citigroup’s London banking operations also faces a cull. The company plans 17,000 job losses globally as part of a cost-cutting drive.

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