be central to delivering continuing improvement in public services,
according to a public services productivity panel (PSPP) report
published by the treasury today.
The report highlights a number of effective techniques and practices
that management and staff have used to raise levels of motivation
within their own organisations. But it also warns that its central
recommendations - that organisations regularly assess the motivation
of their staff and the skills of their managers and act on both - are
minimum requirements: to achieve a step change in the quality of
public service delivery, managers need to take a co-ordinated and
strategic approach to motivating their staff.
The report was prepared by Andrew Foster (controller, Audit
Commission), Greg Parston (office for public management) and John
Smith (finance director, BBC) for the PSPP, reporting to treasury
chief secretary Andrew Smith.
Mr Smith said:
'Informed, valued and motivated staff are central to improving
services in both the public and private sectors. The best
organisations in both sectors recognise this and have developed
positive, effective management strategies to attract and retain staff
who can deliver to users the services they expect and deserve.
'The PSPP report looks at some of the best of these approaches,
strategies that have shown results already. I want to see them
studied and adopted by management across the public sector as an
important part of the drive to improve public services'.
Sir Andrew Foster said:
'Some of the places we visited would appear on first sight to be as
different as chalk and cheese - a trendy ad agency and a northern
council. In truth, the thing that stood out was the quality and
motivation of their staff, their switched-on line management and the
time, effort and focus top management gave to these issues.
'Good effective management is not a given, but needs to be worked at.
For those organisations that do so, the future it seems is very
The report concluded that the three requirements for a highly
motivated workforce are:
- A strategic framework that includes vision, transparent values,
effective measures of performance, and HR functions that are
central to the business.
- A supportive culture that allows delegation, recognition,
communication and mutual respect.
- A strong emphasis on the inter-personal skills of line managers
who are clearly connected to the organisation's leadership and can
translate these values for their staff.
The research found no significant differences between what motivates
staff in the public and private sectors, and that so-called 'soft'
management issues, such as good line management, setting clear
objectives and inviting and recognizing staff contributions to
success, are at least as important - if not more so - than pay and
benefits. It also finds that motivated employees do not appear by
chance, that active 'interventionist' personnel polices are required
to develop and reward them, and that there are very real costs to any
organisation which does not invest in this way.
Organisations involved in the qualitative research were:
Clatterbridge NHS Trust; The Employment Service; Microsoft UK;
Ministry of Defence Policy Unit; Stockton-on-Tees BC; Suffolk CC;
Tesco; West Middlesex Hospital NHS Trust.
NOTES TO EDITORS
1. The Public Services Productivity Panel was established by the
chancellor in the 1998 Pre-Budget Report 'to advise on ways of
improving the productivity and efficiency of government departments
and public sector bodies'.
2. Further details were announced on 16 February 1999. Since then
14 reports have been published, covering important public sector
delivery issues such as better business planning, leadership,
customer focus, rewards and incentives.
3. Full details of the membership of the current Panel were
announced by chief secretary Andrew Smith on 15 September 2000.
It has to date carried out six projects, two of which, The Role of
External Review in Raising Performance, and Customer- Focused
Government: From Policy to Delivery, have already been published.
Reports on Accountability and Responsibility, and Effective
Management of Partnerships, are in preparation.
4. The PSPP members involved in the preparation of the report
'Making A Difference - Motivating People To Improve Performance' are:
Andrew Foster - controller, Audit Commission: previously deputy
chief executive and director of performance management of the NHS,
and has held senior management roles in local government.
Greg Parston - co-founder office for public management (OPM), an
independent organisational development consultancy that also
operates a charitable research foundation that researches public
service delivery issues; chairman of the public management
John Smith - finance director, BBC: previously worked for the British
Rail group, ultimately as corporate finance director; member of the
accounting standards board not-for-profit committee, '100 Group' of
finance directors and recently appointed to the UK advisory board of
Zurich Financial Services.
5. The report, press releases and other panel material are available
on the internet here.