No rugby matches this weekend, just training, so my husband swept both boys off, telling me to put my feet up and enjoy the Sunday papers.

But you know what, that isn’t the treat it used to be! These days I open the Sundays’ with more than a bit of trepidation, wondering what will be being said about the public sector this week – low productivity, fat cat salaries, gold plated pensions, non jobs, bureaucratic, no innovation, poor performance, and public sector bad, private sector good…recognise the list?

If you are a PPMA member I know you will share my concern about the impact of all this on employee engagement and motivation.  We all know that this is as big an issue in maintaining employee engagement as the spending cuts themselves.

It’s an issue, not just because of the damaging impact on performance at a time when public services are under pressure. It’s an issue because if we are to achieve the looked for transformation of public services we need the people working in those services to be engaged in the change. We need their knowledge and experience; we need their contribution and ideas about how things could be done differently and better. In short we need them to feel part of the solution, not part of the problem!

In my own organisation this year we have set a shared objective for everyone to be involved in challenging the way we work through thinking and acting creatively about how we arrange and provide public services. In other words, we are saying clearly and strongly that we see our employees as the answer, not the problem.

This is critical stuff. The new “sport” of public sector bashing may be fun for some, but we will all pay the price if it does not stop soon!

‘Till next week,

Anne