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SOCPO CONFERENCE - PERSONNEL HEADS TOLD TO WATCH THE OFFSIDE TRAP

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Personnel heads must be wary of complacency, and focus on communicating if they want to bring staff onside in helpi...
Personnel heads must be wary of complacency, and focus on communicating if they want to bring staff onside in helping deliver the government's reforms, they were told this week.

Speaking at the Society of Chief Personnel Officers conference in Brighton, new president and Hampshire CC personnel head Rita Sammons said many staff feared best value because they had suffered under CCT.

Helping them feel fully involved was a major job for personnel experts, but complacency from both officers and members was a bigger problem 'either because everything is seen as 'yet another initiative' or because of a failure to understand the scale of the change we are facing', she said.

Joined-up services, partnership working across departments and sectors, proper public consultation, performance setting and peer assessment were all challenges in what was a 'fundamental culture change'.

'Can we help create the necessary change in approach and provide the new skills our staff and managers need to come out of the silos? Can we mix expertise and professionalism with the humility to ask people what they want?' she asked.

Ms Sammons said personnel managers should act as role models to others in the council, and give senior staff the right problem-solving and negotiation skills.

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