Your browser is no longer supported

For the best possible experience using our website we recommend you upgrade to a newer version or another browser.

Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of this website, please enable cookies in your browser

We'll assume we have your consent to use cookies, for example so you won't need to log in each time you visit our site.
Learn more


  • Comment
Maintaining the commitment of public services managers and staff will ...
Maintaining the commitment of public services managers and staff will

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.


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.

  • Comment

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

Please remember that the submission of any material is governed by our Terms and Conditions and by submitting material you confirm your agreement to these Terms and Conditions.

Links may be included in your comments but HTML is not permitted.