For once, I’m writing a blog update whilst sat working from home – what a pleasant novelty!
Even more surprising is that this week there isn’t a huge amount to report on the PPMA front. Last week’s attendance at the Personnel Today Awards was hugely successful and the PPMA guests appeared to have enjoyed themselves, as did the PPMA members in attendance. I was delighted to see that there were a number of public sector finalists, including my former colleagues in South Tyneside – well done to all the public sector entrants who made it to the final stages and especially to those who won!
Other than updating on the tail end of last week, from a personal perspective PPMA business appears to be winding down towards the Christmas break – but I’m pretty sure that it will quickly ramp up again in the New Year. The one bit of business to highlight was a discussion I held this morning with our lead on Pay and Reward, Jim Savege, and Andy Cook from Marshall-James HR consulting. Our discussion was about employee relations training for HR teams and we agreed an outline proposal that I’ll be writing to PPMA Regional Chairs about to consider further.
Before closing for this week, I would like to make a personal comment about the national press and what appears to be an increasing anti-public sector line. Newspaper articles have covered all sorts of issues from public sector pay and pensions to job titles – if I didn’t know better, I’d say that a general election was impending (you can call me a cynic at this point). When messages such as these start to appear in the broadsheets, it’s pretty clear that lobby groups and political parties are starting to flex their campaigning muscles.
Compound this with the additional public sector efficiency targets and increases in employer national insurance contributions, etc. then public servants and public sector employers are very much under the spotlight, especially our colleagues working in children’s services across the country. With the backdrop of the credit crunch and interest rates at a 57 year low, this is not only going to be a tough time for HR teams supporting employers and employees alike, it’s unlikely to get any easier in the meantime. So, rather than crumble or hide away, HR really has to step up the pace and help the public sector as a whole weather the gathering storm.