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Vicky is programme director Connected Local Government, a regular host on CLGdotTV programmes and has served public sector IT for more than 25 years

@vickysargent

Public sector yet to get smart about workforce

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Leatham Green of the PPMA and Jonathan Key of LabourXchange tell Jane Hancer of CC2i that public sector approaches to recruitment, retention and management are stuck in a pre-digital age

It is well known that local authorities and other parts of the public sector face staff shortages in professional and less skilled roles, leading to significant expenditure on recruitment and agency fees.

Yet hiring practice remains long-winded, bureaucratic and rule-bound, an approach that is working neither for organisation nor candidate, and could change if the will was there, says HR specialist Leatham.

Today’s technology allows for much greater flexibility in hiring people and enabling them to work when and where they are available says Jonathan. LabourXchange's online platforms match small units of supply and demand while limiting application hurdles to what is appropriate to the role to be filled, and is about to be piloted with councils keen to find new ways to plug a huge and growing care skills gap.

‘Digital’ can also make office-based work more accessible to candidates with other responsibilities and challenges, and allow organisations more flexibility, but too many managers still want to see people ‘in the office’ and fail to provide the human support that is still needed to retain employees and kep them motivated even where the best tech tools are available.

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