Central and Local Government Structure

The local government in England has seen permanent change in its structure since two and a half decades. The local government was bureaucratic and highly inefficient. As the conservative government came to power, it felt that market should provide solution for economic problems. So, legislation was introduced to address the failure of bureaucratic government and remove the traditionally exercised controls of local authorities. Suppliers of services were separated from generator of services. There have been rivalries and tensions at different levels of District authority and County councils which has often been the barrier in utilizing of scarce resources efficiently. Authorities were believed to be over extravagant, so tight constraints were placed on budgets.

Central and Local Government Structure Impact of External change: There have been tremendous amount of external change in the government. Various reforms were introduced by the local government which included the new labor reforms and reforms to manage and measure the performance. This had its impact on ABC County as well. The new government now determined how the council should work. Government came up with the modernizing agenda which stated that-

Local authorities have a duty to promote the economic, social and environmental well-being of their areas The government structure was to be reformed to make it more accountable to people. Competitive tendering was to be replaced by tendering by best value. ABC County had undergone 2 major restructurings within 6 years. All this has led to a decrease in revenue and downsizing of employees. The old structure was centralized and much of the power lay in the hands of senior managers. It was mainly concerned with service areas. There was a tendency to look downwards and not across service areas i.e. a 'Silo Mentality' was created.

Senior managers had acquired protective attitude over the years. So the chief officer was having difficulty in managing them. "The boundaries between departments reflected the boundaries between professionals responsible for a particular service". The political power was primarily in the hands of council leader & small number of council members. Single party dominated the local politics & strong doctrinal element was linked to politics. After the reforms, the task of decision making was placed in the hands of council leader, cabinet and chef officer management team. In the new structure the strategic managers have the responsibility for a portfolio of services and each portfolio has responsibility for policy making. These managers have been appointed on the basis of their managerial competence.

"Public is not aware which tire in the government provides which service". Complications arose when boundaries were crossed between other public service. If a person had a specific problem involving more than one authority, no authority would consider it as their responsibility to solve the problem. This resulted in authorities blaming each without recognizing their own responsibility. A model was developed to show how strategic aim should be converted into desired outcome. Development plan for each service area is prepared which contain 1year and 3years outcome. For reviewing the performance, business plans are cascaded to teams and individuals. Results drawn from here are provided to central government annually.

Relationship between HRM strategy and Business strategy: Organisational and employee development is viewed as the core of the cultural change and this is valued throughout the organisation. It necessary to maintain a confident and a competent staff that are clear about the type of council they are in and what kind of work is expected out of them. "Learning organisations is one in which people at all levels, individuals and collectively, are continually increasing their capacity to produce results they really care about".

ABC County Council must continue to learn and encourage learning among its employees. It must promote the exchange of information between various levels of employees hence creating a more knowledgeable work force. This will produce high level of flexibility where people will accept and adapt to new ideas and changes through a shared vision. It will encourage interdependency, improve quality and real productivity.

This will also help the organisational structure to become people oriented in relation to staff and employees and further lead to motivating the employees and increase their level of skills and knowledge. Employees in the ABC County must understand that to become a learning organisation, learning is necessary. Appropriate environment must be created for this change to take place. ABC County Currently has a more centralized structure. Therefore, employees don't possess a comprehensive picture of the whole organisation and they are not clear with its goals. Hence it should translate its organisational structure to a more decentralized where people understand their responsibility. This will create an environment of innovation and will lead to better communication.