Civica research reveals half of public sector staff think bosses lack skills to manage transformation

Almost half of public sector staff think their leadership team lacks the management skills needed for a period of massive and accelerating change, according to research published by local government senior managers’ society Solace and technology company Civica.

The Invigorating the Public Sector Revolution report found 47% of staff thought leaders lacked the right skills, while only 7% viewed the public sector as an empowering environment in which to work in. Around 36% wanted public sector leaders to create a “more flexible and adaptive working environment”.

The research found 34% of public sector staff at middle manager level and below believed leaders needed to alter the entire organisational structure, with 30% claiming a lack of clear direction was holding the sector back from effective change.

Wayne Story, deputy chief executive at Civica, said: “As the pace of change accelerates, not everyone has the necessary skills to manage and build on the shifts taking place. Public sector leaders need to be able to empower and inspire the wider workforce and take responsibility for building a culture that encourages employees to innovate and try new ways of working without fear of failure.

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“Whilst excellent public sector training and development exists to support individual challenges, we would propose introducing a nationally-funded programme to arm leaders with the skills they require to meet future demands and effectively manage the significant change and increasing expectation using tools and technology available to encourage collaboration and innovation.”

Kim Ryley, chair of Solace in Business, said the biggest barriers were people’s attitudes rather than technology and resources: “Public sector organisations need a style of leadership that creates a sense of purpose where they can sell hope to the people, and visibly walk the walk.”

The survey of 276 public sector workers in middle management or below was conducted by Opinium Research in January 2016.

Colin Marrs

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