HR is highly valued by public sector leaders but a squeeze on budgets presents a challenge in the year ahead.

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HR teams in the public sector are highly regarded by public sector leaders, according to research from The Public Sector People Manager’s Association (PPMA). With substantial change undergoing the public sector and a squeeze on budgets, the year ahead is predicted to present a challenge.

The PPMA report found that 74% of those surveyed said their input was valued by leaders in their organisation. Two thirds (67%) also said their leadership teams see HR practitioners as strategic partners and the HR strategy is developed by a head or director of HR in some nine in ten organisations.

Additionally, the HR strategy for the next two years is already set in 47% of organisations whilst approximately four in ten (38%) are currently putting a strategy in place.

However, HR practitioners voiced concern over the resources they currently have and what they’ll have in the future. Around half said either the size of the HR budget (49%) or the HR team (51%) was inadequate to do the job. 70% expect the HR budget to fall in the year ahead.

For the years to come, the way HR and public sector managers work is expected to change. Four in ten (42%) said they expected to move to a model of shared services with other councils and a third (35%) said they would be supporting other public bodies.

Barry Pirie, PPMA president commented: “Our research provides clear evidence that today HR and OD professionals are the change-makers who are playing a critical role in helping public sector organisations reshape and adapt for the future.

“There is still much work to be done however. As resources shrink and the nature of public sector organisations change, HR needs to change to meet new and emerging needs. This means being creative and proactive in demonstrating how we can do things differently and provide the same high quality leadership and support around the way we manage our people. If we can do this I am sure people managers will continue to have a seat at the top table in public sector organisations in the future.”