de Poel advises local authorities on strategy
de Poel’s recommended approach, which is outlined in a new whitepaper & lsquo;The Future of Contingent Labour in Local Government’, focuses on three key challenges affecting the workforce that the company urges local authorities to address before Government has to consider more radical models to ensure efficiency, such as centralisation or further outsourcing. The challenges include:
Workforce composition: Local government service provision is delivered via a truly extended enterprise, with significant proportions of delivery coming via the Third and private sector. In addition to the fact that the workforce composition of the remaining directly provided services will continue to morph in order to achieve efficiencies and to work within restricted budgets, worker sentiment is also changing. With more individuals choosing to work flexibly and increasingly in more than one role, local authorities will need to learn how to utilise fragments of peoples’ time where, previously, they could command much greater loyalty. Local government needs to adapt to suit this shift and consider the ideal workforce make-up to ensure it can operate efficiently and effectively.
Planning ahead: Local authorities spent roughly £1.8bn on agency labour alone in 2011, with many local authorities having a very reactive stance towards recruitment. This needs to change. That said, many public services, notably social care, are heavily reliant upon contingent resource within their total resourcing mix. Local authorities need to take advantage of real time, rather than retrospective information to ensure they are working efficiently. Using this information they can instantly identify peaks or troughs in demand and allocate the appropriate resource against each requirement – saving significant costs.
Maximising efficiencies: Local government needs to work ever more efficiently to deliver its statutory responsibilities on diminishing budgets. Recruitment and workforce procurement is a fundamental part of this challenge. With the prospect of even greater use of shared services coming in in 2015/16 due to the next wave of budget cuts, visibility and control over workforce composition will become a prerequisite. Once in place, local authorities can shift to making informed choices in real-time – the ultimate resourcing model.
Matthew Sanders, CEO of de Poel, commented, “Local government is undergoing a period of such phenomenal change that it will require all our collective efforts to help enable this transformation. No cohort is more important on this journey than the people who deliver public services – many of which must be accessible twenty four hours a day and/or seven days a week. Amongst the extended enterprise that increasingly runs public services sits a significant proportion of service-critical contingent workers.
“Employees are choosing to work more flexibly, and often in more than one role to try and secure a better work/life balance and gain greater experience and job satisfaction. In response to this, we urge local government to become more proactive in their labour management by using available real-time information to accurately schedule contingent labour – an essential and invaluable component of total resource - around each and every requirement.
“By becoming more strategic and looking ahead, we can help local authorities identify the best way to manage the workforce and create a long-term strategy as opposed to a reacting to short term requirements, enabling the delivery of long-term operational and efficiency savings. These changes are essential to ensuring local authority efficiency, as Government looks to reduce costs and make changes needed to do so.”
For more information on the whitepaper visit www.depoel.co.uk.