My comments focused on workforce aspects of reform. Given the staff intensive nature of public services you might think that the workforce would be a key feature of government strategies. Sadly this has been far from the case over the years, with the workforce being an afterthought in a related HR strategy.
The Christie Commission report and the Scottish Government response is different. They make the workforce central to reform. The workforce is one of the four 'pillars' of Scottish Government reform plans.
Of course we shouldn't get too starry eyed about this. There couldn't be a more difficult time to engage the workforce. A pay freeze, 21,000 job losses, undermining terms and conditions and of course the current attack on pensions. Public service workers didn't cause the crisis but they are paying the price.
Those staff who are left are being spread more thinly trying to deliver services. So it is important that there is some focus on their needs. Christie recommendations included:
- Strengthening the public service ethos
- Workforce development
- Involvement in designing and improving their jobs
- Improving the level of autonomy and empowerment
The bottom up approach can be implemented locally, but other issues need a national approach. These include:
- A common competency framework
- Interdisciplinary training
- Partnership industrial relations
- Job security
- National frameworks on procurement, organisational change, pay and pensions.