According to a survey of 150 public-sector employers published today by law firm Eversheds, 56% of respondents, predominantly from the local government and health sectors, are also planning changes to employment terms and conditions, and 66% to their employment practices.
The responses from the study are extremely revealing, both in terms of what employers have been up to, what they predict for the next 12 months and what they do not say.
Other findings from the survey revealed 56% of employers among those responding are currently operating a recruitment freeze, 45% are proposing a recruitment freeze, 43% envisage some form of partnership arrangement and 21% of survey respondents anticipate a rise in outsourcing
Mark Hammerton, partner at Eversheds, said: "The survey responses reveal considerable diversity in terms of how changes will be effected. While redundancies make the headlines, and for obvious reasons, employment contracts and policies are clearly being scrutinised across the board. In particular, pay freezes, and even pay reductions, as well as the withdrawal of staff benefits or bonuses were anticipated by respondents.
"Recruitment is also severely restricted, if not precluded, for many. Just under half of respondents are targeting more robust performance or absence management processes.
"HR professionals will clearly need to stay close to forthcoming proposals, ensuring, for example, that redundancy exercises or contractual changes are handled appropriately, if they are to avoid adding to the burgeoning number of tribunal complaints revealed in recent Employment Tribunal statistics."The results might possibly demonstrate a natural sector scepticism of the private sector’s ability to deliver genuine transformation in service and cost. A somewhat radical model is being trialled by Suffolk Council, which has announced it is to be a ‘Commissioning Council’ through which services are administered but not provided directly. Many will watch this space with keen interest. Could this prove to be the ultimate in clever forward thinking or a step too far that might prove of devastating impact to the quality and extent of public services?"
This article was first published on hrmagazine.co.uk