Yesterday’s REC Public Sector Forum looked at talent management in difficult times and how public sector employers can manage their workforce to improve the performance of public services.
Leading experts including Dean Royles, Chief Executive of NHS Employers and Chairman of Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD), Karen Beamish of the Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply (CIPS), Philip Baker of the New Local Government Network (NLGN) and Malcolm Stirling of Monster Government Solutions, joined REC Chief Executive Kevin Green and an audience of specialist recruiters and public sector figures.
A number of key themes emerged:
• Service reconfiguration to cope with limited resources –The NHS will face a £20billion efficiency gap by 2015, and local government an £8.9billion funding gap by 2019. At the same time in areas such as education, services are struggling to cope with demand with an extra 15,000 teachers needed by 2014/2015. This will require radical service reconfiguration to do more with limited resources.
• Improve technology and foster a culture of innovation – Malcolm Stirling discussed the National Audit Office report on inefficient recruitment processes and the need for digital by default. He highlighted that the Universal Jobs Match is now receiving 45 million views a day and that the use of such portals will allow the public sector to access more candidates. Members of the audience emphasised their work with assorted public sector bodies to drive innovation and maximise resources.
• Talent to lead transformation – Talent management in the public sector is evolving. For example, Philip Baker focused on the efficiency drive across local government to develop a smaller, more professional workforce. This workforce will be better paid and more qualified in the future, and will be more flexible so that the talent can be accessed as and when it is needed.
• People drive processes – Karen Beamish was clear that processes cannot function without the right people to implement them. She used the example of the government’s procurement reforms. Great initiatives exist but are the right people in place to deliver on them? The public sector has to invest in people as much as ideas to deal with challenges it faces.
• Collaboration is the future – The panel and audience agreed that increasing collaboration between the public and private sectors will be the norm in delivering public services. Recruiters are already key partners in delivering the workforce flexibility but they have more of a role to play in workforce planning.
The REC continues to argue that sustainable and safe staffing levels are vital to the delivery of efficient public services, with the right balance achieved between quality and cost. We represent the recruitment industry on the Department of Health’s National Procurement Council and the Local Government Association’s Employers Standards Group.