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Todays Emergency Budget

Todays Emergency Budget
Will see wholesale cuts to public sector spending, Nicola Linkleter, Managing Director, at recruitment consultancy, Badenoch & Clark, comments:  This emergency budget marks the start of a new cycle in public sector employment. Except for the 250 pay rise for the 1.7 million public servants earning less than 21,000, the Chancellors first budget was a bleak one. Drastic cuts to public sector spending include a 2 year pay freeze for all public sector workers. When combined with departmental budget reductions, these cuts will force a new employment landscape across the public sector.  
Cost reduction of the scale outlined today does not happen without causing significant upheaval across every aspect of an organisation. The public sector has progressed significantly over the past five years in terms of its ability to attract and retain top talent against strong private sector competition. Now it must work to safeguard its reputation as an employer of choice and not damage the work done in recent years to improve its ability to attract new talent and skills. 
In the build-up to todays budget announcement, we have spoken to range of clients across the public sector including those in central and local government, housing associations and the NHS, and one message comes across loud and clear: we are on the threshold of a new employment landscape.  Organisations will respond to significant budget cuts by creating a new relationship with their employees, one which is more flexible, better suited to harnessing a wider skill set and seeking greater expertise in change management service and experience.
 Alan Lewin, chief executive of Axiom, a regional housing organisation, said: These budget cuts will result in the creation of a new model of the employer / employee relationship.  A radical review will need to take place of the current employment contracts and practices if public sector bodies are to continue to meet the increasingly challenging demands of budget retraction and service expansion. 
Now, more than ever, we need to attract, retain and develop people who have the flexibility to work across a wide remit, are adept at problem solving and can mould their skills and experience to meeting todays challenges not trying to solve yesterdays problems.
Summary of findings from Badenoch & Clark Emergency Budget client review: At the hub of public sector cuts, central government departments have been undergoing a complete review of its priorities, identifying business critical projects and started the task of policy reviews. During this time, a freeze on all recruitment remains in place. Uncertainty will remain for a while as the full scale government reform and the future infrastructural landscape is debated and concluded, resulting in a population of workers remaining in limbo.  Local government bosses face the daunting task of revealing what headcount reduction is needed to get through the tough times ahead. Hiding behind the word efficiency is no longer possible as the real pain of budget cuts start to be felt. A lack of trust towards employers and a feeling of who is next will undermine efforts to maintain relations. Recruitment freezes within the housing sector over the last year has resulted in organisations adapting their internal systems and protocols. Reviews of recruitment agency support, redeployment of staff and concentrated focus on up-skilling existing staff have helped the sector remain fairly positive in the face of todays emergency Budget announcements.  Efficiencies have been identified in a number of key areas across the NHS, with a question over the organisational infrastructure of health service delivery, namely the role of the Strategic Health Authority, PCTs and GPs. According to Badenoch & Clarks NHS clients, the greatest talent issue the sector currently faces is its lack of effective leadership. 
A reduction in the Department of Healths budget will only deepen the challenge of finding and retaining credible, experienced staff senior staff. Linkleter concluded:  Marrying the competing demands of these wholesale budget cuts with staff recruitment and retention will result in major changes to the current employment landscape at a speed never seen before. Short-term contracts and interim positions are likely to grow. Candidates with strong change management experience are now highly in demand as organisations seek to navigate complicated restructuring and cost reduction programmes. Such challenging times demand a clear understanding of business strategy, realistic goals and consistent, coherent dialogue with staff. Managers who bury their heads in the chaos of change will fail their business and their careers. Employees must remain flexible as their roles widen and scope of work increases, and utilise any opportunity for further training and development as organisations seek to up-skill existing staff.


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