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WORK LIFE-FRANCESCA OKOSI, HEAD OF HUMAN RESOURCES AT BRENT LBC, ON STAFF TRAINING

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Over the past twelve months, there has been a quiet revolution taking place, aimed at improving lifelong learning a...
Over the past twelve months, there has been a quiet revolution taking place, aimed at improving lifelong learning and employability in our local communities. This has been evident in the work of the emerging Learning and Skills Councils.

Human resources colleagues may be forgiven for thinking this is an education and regeneration issue.Yet

it is a major issue for us when you consider that most councils are often the major employer in their area. The way we treat our staff and help them develop their skills sets the tone for how we expect our partners to address these issues.

The modernisation of public services has provided us with many challenges and opportunities, including the chance to develop and support local government staff in delivering continuous improvement.

Councils who wish to keep ahead of the game will need to be prepared to think and operate outside the box, as will their staff. To achieve this, we need to invest in their development.

Apart from the serious staff shortage in areas such as education and social care, we need to equip our current and future workforce with the ability to operate effectively at all levels and within an ever-changing environment. This should include:

- Developing leadership skills

- Improving performance management

- Information and communication skills

- Enhancing customer care

- Investing in the development of front-line staff

- Improving the way we manage diversity

The current recruitment and retention difficulties mean we must use development as a way of attracting and keeping staff. Local government must become a more attractive job prospect.

I believe the Learning and Skills Councils can play a major role in helping local government to develop and equip its diverse workforce to deliver modernised services.

Local skills councils have an opportunity to act as a conduit for exchanging best practice across organisations/sectors and encouraging the participation of minority communities in training programmes leading to employment in local government. They can also assist us in the funding of major initiatives.

Francesca Okosi

Head of human resources, Brent LBC

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