Have you read the press headlines recently about public sector services? If you haven’t they go something like this…’Public sector bad, private sector good’ or ‘Town Hall fat cats overpaid and clueless’ or ‘Public sector needs a bonfire under it’.
This type of crude reporting, quite frankly, gets my goat.
Gillian Hibberd and I met Jackie Orme, CIPD Chief Executive, last week to discuss mutual agendas and how we can work in successful collaboration. Fortunately, we see balanced reporting concerning public sector management from the CIPD through People Management magazine. However, we discussed the current plethora of anti-public sector reporting that appears to plague the more sensationalist elements of the media.
The damage crude and melodramatic reporting may cause is of considerable concern both now and for the future. Jackie, to her great credit, was quick to identify the problem. The problem being that we need to recruit and retain talented people if we are to be successful in the challenge of transforming public sector services. Bashing the public sector as a ‘basket case’ puts at risk our ability to recruit and retain those talented people who will be tasked with making fundamental change to public services. If employee engagement takes a hit, so will our ability to provide good quality services at an affordable cost – empirical evidence from Investors in People, MORI, the Work Foundation, to name a few well-respected research organisations, demonstrates a casual relationship between employees engagement and organisational performance.
If the UK is to emerge in reasonable shape from the recession, we need the nation to get behind the public sector to reduce the country’s level of debt and bashing us isn’t going to help one little bit. If top talent leaves the public sector, how will we deliver the fundamental change that’s needed?
Jackie agreed that we need to promote the successful changes already being implemented across the public sector, share the learning and spread the success. If only others were as enlightened – but then I suppose good news seldom sells newspapers, unless it’s ‘England wins the World Cup’?
Have a good week.