The head of the new body responsible for local government pay, pensions and employment issues has insisted the organisation has a key role to play in the future development of the sector.
Local Government Em-ployers (LGE) began business at the start of the month, replacing the former Employers’ Organisation for Local Government. Steve Bullock, the body’s new chairman, denied the move was just a re-badging exercise.
“The new organisation is much clearer about what its core business is,” he said. “At the heart is being a centre of excellence for employers on pay, pensions and employment strategy.”
LGE will also provide help for local authorities on issues such as job evaluation, equal pay, employment law and absence management. It will work closely with the local government Improvement and Development Agency to share best practice.
Bullock said he hoped the launch of LGE would mean HR professionals in the sector would find it easier to get the advice they needed to benefit their organisations.
Public sector employers face several tough challenges in the coming months. There are major pay rounds to settle in local government and the Fire Services, and they face further unrest over plans to alter local government pension provision.
“This year is going to be tough for all us in local government for a whole host of reasons. Industrial action comes with the territory but [employers] will get on with the serious work of tackling these issues,” Bullock said.
LGE has also appointed Jan Parkinson, strategic director of HR at Gateshead Council, as managing director. She will join in June.
She said that pay, pensions and employment issues needed to reach the top of the agenda because these three areas of policy hold the key to improving the availability, affordability and quality of the services delivered by local government.
LGE at a glance: three main goals
To modernise pay and conditions agreements and pension schemes in England and Wales, and to provide affordable, sustainable and flexible employment frameworks.
To provide effective representation for local authorities and other stakeholders seeking to modernise their pay and conditions agreements, pension schemes and the employment contract.
To offer practical guidance, solutions and training on pay, pensions and the employment contract to local authorities and other stakeholders.