Nottinghamshire County Council job cuts leave line managers doing human resources tasks

A cull of human resources (HR) staff as part of a shake-up at Nottinghamshire County Council will continue to put pressure on the function until the end of 2008, according to its HR director.

The council has axed 32 HR jobs out of 260, including advisory and managerial posts, as part of a restructuring of the department.

It blamed financial pressures for the cuts and aims to save £400,000 through a move to an HR business partner model, where managers are responsible for carrying out general HR tasks.

HR director Jack Markiewicz told Personnel Today that the council was still using the old HR model, despite the loss of staff members. “It has put additional pressure on particular teams as we wait for the new model to kick in,” he said. “It has been a difficult period of cultural change getting managers on board with their new role, which will include interviewing without HR and handling disciplinaries.”

He said some managers had questioned the change, but had recognised that the council had to make savings and were coming to terms with the situation. Training is also being given to managers, Markiewicz added.

“We are likely to have a single point of contact [with a new HR shared-services centre] by the end of next year – the final step of restructuring,” he said.

The local branch of the Unison trade union warned in May that the council’s plans would leave the authority in a mess. The union would not be drawn into further comment.

New local government strategy

A new workforce strategy for local government will be launched this week, developed by the Local Government Association, the Improvement and Development Agency (IdeA) and Local Government Employers.

The strategy outlines five priorities and the challenges for HR professionals in the sector over the next five years: organisational development leadership development skills recruitment and retention and pay and reward.

Joan Munro, national adviser at IdeA, said: “Providing the best services and making localities better places to live cannot be separated from good talent management.”

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