After seven years of government cuts, local authorities are being asked to make further savings and deliver more services, with less resource. Inevitably, the question everyone in local government is asking is, how is it possible to achieve this? Where is the fat to trim?
The People Conundrum
This question is particularly taxing in local government where councils face an ongoing staffing dilemma. People are at the heart of everything a council does and it’s impossible to deliver quality services without talented dedicated staff. Yet, as the talent pool shrinks, Local Authorities will find it harder to recruit the volume and quality of staff needed to provide vulnerable people, in their local communities, with the care, dignity, and protection they are entitled to, and that we all wish to see in a compassionate society. People are also the biggest cost so how can councils square the circle?
Councils Must Innovate Their Way Out Of The Problem
As masters at finding creative solutions to staff shortages, Councils are familiar with innovating their way out of a problem with new processes or technology. Often it takes a fresh pair of eyes to stand back and see a different way to deliver better outcomes.
Recruitment is a prime example of this. As an ongoing need it is just one of those things that needs to happen, and we respond by picking up the phone to a recruitment agency. Rather than designing an approach to recruitment fit for today’s world it is true to say most councils have evolved their approach over time, typically in response to conversations with new agencies, legacy suppliers or for contractual reasons. Few have had the opportunity to sit back and think about recruitment in its totality and whether their current approach enables them to meet their needs.
Time To Rethink Recruitment
Only when issues surface do we sit back and consider whether there is a better way to do things, to reduce cost, improve fulfillment or ensure we are attracting the best candidates, rather than trusting agencies to do this on our behalf. I believe that time is now, with cuts in some areas of the public sector so severe as to require a completely new approach to recruiting staff.
Even if councils have recently reviewed recruitment processes, new technology and processes are emerging that can help HR provide a better service, procurement drive even greater cost savings, and business managers tasked with innovating to get the best staff to achieve this.
If you would like to find out more about emerging approaches to recruitment and the technology that supports these, I’ll be at the LGSC event in Belfast on Tuesday 6th December 2017.