In the last ten days it has been my privilege to attend three different public sector events across the country. First up was the SPDS annual conference in Scotland, where HRDs in Scottish local government were looking at the implications of the Christie Report commissioned by the Scottish Government to assess the future of public services in Scotland. The passion and energy in the room as we debated the need for whole system change was uplifting.
Then, what a day we had at the PPMA national public service debate in Manchester last week! It was a great opportunity for PPMA members to debate the challenges we are all facing, refresh our thinking and hear about new ideas. The debate and discussion ranged across new organisational models, leadership, organisational design issues, employee engagement, the role of trust in our organisations, pensions, and of course, the expectations on us all, working in HR in the public sector. One of the things that PPMA members said they found invaluable was the opportunity to discuss innovative HR practice and thinking in the specific context of the challenges we are all facing across the public sector. It was clear there was much to learn from other sectors. Andy Doyle, Group HRD at ITV, was inspiring on employee engagement. It was also clear (as I am always saying!) that there are great things going in the public sector that we can all learn from too. We heard from Pam Parkes, HRD at Croydon Council, about their work on re-designing their organisation, challenging traditional hierarchies and streamlining decision making. We heard about Sunderland Council and how they are sustaining high trust levels across their workforce. It was inspiring to hear PPMA members from across the country sharing their stories.
Then it was back to Norwich just in time to catch the end of the Under 14s rugby team training-no rest for rugby Mums!
The following day, I was a guest at Birmingham City Council’s Chamberlain Awards ceremony, celebrating the contribution and achievements of their staff. The evening was full of stories of talented and dedicated public sector workers who are making a huge difference to people’s lives across Birmingham.
So, alongside all the challenges facing the public sector, let’s celebrate the pride and the passion that is all around us. There is a lot to do, but there is much to build on-our cup is definitely half full!
Until next week,