Dear Colleagues and PPMA Members
I do hope you are enjoying this beautiful summer weather which is a far cry from that we had to endure last year!
I write at a time when there is still much discussion about the recent Government Spending Review which is impacting on us all of course but probably more so for those Members who are working in local government, where the cuts are more severe.
I took the opportunity the day after the announcement to have an Away Day with my entire HR and OD Service to discuss the Spending Review, which I’m sure doesn’t sound that scintillating! However, it was very much linked to discussions on the bigger picture (which they had told me they wanted to hear about), not just about the economy as it faces the state, but what public sector reform (as its now being referred to) is going to look like.
So, yes we did discuss the 1% pay message provided by Government and also the likely political pressure we will be under in removing automatic incremental progression. But, our main focus was on the ‘big stuff’ and debating the practical way in which HR and OD can support the organisation to reform and by so doing, allow it to move in the same direction as the Government in terms of future public service delivery. Instead of being downbeat about the whole message of cuts and more cuts, the people in my Service demonstrated that they could see their new role in helping to shape the future, are energised by it and want to seize the opportunities such change presents. It was the moment that reminded me how privileged I am to be their director.
There was of course a sombre note at the end of the day which was that whilst in some ways the agenda is exciting, there will be substantial human casualties along the way and we in HR have a very important role in terms of how we go about our business. Our profession has often been referred to as one that champions the consciousness of our organisations and we are now moving into different territory which is along the lines of being the “courageous conscience”. This links nicely to a reminder we had this week from Radio Four, which reported on the four hour speech made by Nelson Mandela in his trial of some fifty years ago. In this Mandela courageously asked what is the World about if it is not to strive for human dignity and by that; respect, consideration and thinking deep about people? A powerful message then and equally so today. What a great profession we are in!
With best wishes to you all.