CIPD urges focus on values-based leadership
Values-based leadership needs to be developed across the public sector if the twin objectives of reducing spending and providing customer-focused services are to be met.
That's according to new research from the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) and Public Sector People Managers' Association (PPMA), exploring how chief executives and HR directors in a range of local service organisations are leading efforts to transform service delivery in line with the Government's localism agenda.
The report is based on interviews with leaders from 14 local service organisations including local government, police and fire services, and highlights the priority chief executives are placing on involving staff in creating new values that underpin the new customer-centric service delivery cultures they are trying to build. The research demonstrates that a radical re-engineering of public service delivery, coupled with cost cutting, can't happen overnight - it involves changing public sector values and culture, as well as how people are led and managed from the boardroom to the front line.
Further findings consider how public service leaders are redesigning their organisations to enable them to deliver services in different ways. Many of the leaders interviewed have recognised that if public services are to engage staff to innovate and respond to changing customer requirements, then leadership can no longer remain in the realm of the executive board alone.
Ben Willmott, head of public policy at the CIPD, said: "The public sector leaders featured in this report recognise that the only way that public services can be made more efficient and more responsive to the needs of service users is if employees on the front-line are trusted to innovate and are empowered to act with more autonomy.
"This requires a fundamental culture change away from traditional command and control styles of leadership to one in which leadership is distributed across organisations. This will not happen overnight and can only be achieved if managers at all levels are equipped with the necessary leadership skills to involve and engage their staff.
"These same skills are needed to underpin the move to a different type of employment deal in the public services, which provides employees with more flexibility and improved skills development opportunities to compensate for the erosion of traditional public sector benefits such as job security and a final salary pension."