Red tape hits local authority morale

Local government HR chiefs back claims by the union GMB that the
Government’s Best Value reforms have demoralised local government managers.

A GMB poll of senior public service staff reveals that most are unhappy with
Best Value reforms with many believing they have led to a lack of resources
that have hit staff and services.

Keith Handley, Socpo president, said managers are suffering under the
increased red tape generated by the Best Value reforms.

"Best Value has certainly led to a demoralised management in local
government who are almost collapsing under initiative fatigue and inspection

"The concept of Best Value still holds good but if central Government
really want to drive up service improvements they must come up with a less
bureaucratic process.

"Indeed part of the problem is that managers don’t have enough time to
deal with front line services – their new front line is the inspection

The survey of 80 staff from a wide cross-section of public services
including housing, social services and education shows that almost 70 per cent
expressed dissatisfaction over Best Value reforms and the negative effect they
have had on their jobs.

Three-quarters of senior public service employees surveyed have considered
leaving their jobs in the last year because of increased pressure and stress, a
lack of resources and a lack of control and influence.

A spokeswoman for the DETR said the Audit Commission’s recently published
report Changing Gear confirms that Best Value is delivering real improvements
for service users.

By Lisa Bratby

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