Open letter warns Blair of low public sector morale

Prime
Minster Tony Blair has been warned that criticism from politicians is
undermining recruitment and damaging morale in the public sector.

In
an open letter to Blair, public sector leaders have asked the prime minister to
launch a major campaign to raise awareness of the complex and responsible jobs
they do.

They
say statements from ministers had crippled morale by regularly suggesting that
the sector was so badly managed that it was in need of private sector tutoring.

"Without
the support of a stable, well-trained, well-motivated workforce the
government’s efforts to modernise public services, no matter how determined,
will have limited success," the letter claims.

The
letter, backed by police and nursing captains, also called for a reduction in
efficiency targets, less red tape, loyalty payments for long serving staff and
guaranteed sabbatical pay.

In
response Blair said the Government’s ambitions were dependent on a first rate
civil service and that its skills were the lifeblood of Britain.

He
claimed he had made a start on addressing pay issues in the public sector, with
increases now outstripping those in the private sector.

The
six leaders behind the letter were Metropolitan Police commissioner Sir John
Stevens, Royal College of Nursing general secretary Dr Beverly Malone, London
Development Agency chairman George Barlow, Borough of Camden chief executive
Steve Bundred, Industrial Society chief executive Will Hutton and Rabbi Julia
Neuberger of the King’s Fund health think-tank.

www.pm.gov.uk

By Ross Wigham

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