What are the biggest challenges currently facing you as an organisation, and how are you planning to meet these from an HR/recruitment perspective?
It’s a cliché, but the challenge is recruiting the right people, at the right time with the right skills, behaviours and productivity. Working in the public sector is a challenge but it’s full of opportunities.
With significant funding cuts, we are not talking new challenges but fundamental change programmes. We have more than 40% of budget being cut from local authorities and we had been carrying out change for six years when the cuts started with a vengeance. The significant change does bring opportunities, though; for example, we are able to generate income, which is something councils have had limited ability to do, historically, due to restrictive laws.
We still face a talent drain – retaining people who can earn more in the private sector – but it gives us the opportunity to train interns and apprentices who often stay in the public sector. Social worker recruitment is a big challenge for all councils but, by working collaboratively – even though we are searching the same markets – we have overcome the challenge. There are perceptions that the public sector is not as 'sexy' or rewarding as the private sector. You couldn't be more wrong.