Communication the key to changes at Home Office

first_img Comments are closed. Communication the key to changes at Home OfficeOn 25 May 2004 in Personnel Today Previous Article Next Article Related posts:No related photos. Communication, understanding and staff input are the keys to managingdifficult change, says the Home Office’s head of HR. John Marsh, group HR and change director for the Home Office, has the toughtask of managing personnel through a massive restructuring of one of thecountry’s most high-profile organisations. Complicating matters is the controversial change of headquarters early nextyear and calls for the department to shift its workforce out of London. But his most difficult job is overseeing a reduction in the Home Office’sworkforce by more than a third – about 2,700 jobs are to be shed over threeyears. “We’ve got to get the communication right on this one. We have to bevery open and honest about the scale of reductions,” Marsh said. Seeking staff input into where changes could be made was also important,although it was unrealistic to think there would not be some disaffection. “Uncertainty will bring that. We try to explain that we’re going tomake every effort to deal with staff in a voluntary rather than compulsory way,and that, potentially, [the remaining] jobs are going to be morerewarding.” The cutback is an important part of the Home Office’s five-year deliveryplan to the Government. A draft, to be published in July, will also set newservice targets in areas such as crime reduction and immigration clearance. “The critical part for HR is how do you reform the department todeliver these more demanding targets? That again is where we’ve really beenputting a lot of work in,” he said. Another complex task is the upcoming shift into the Home Office’s new £310mWestminster headquarters. The move has been criticised as poorly plannedbecause staff numbers exceed the new building’s capacity. The possibility of moving up to 2,500 workers out of London had been lookedat, Marsh said. “The reality though is that there will be a cost associated in terms ofinfrastructure [and] staff. Part of the discussion is going to be aroundwhether it is affordable to move out.” For a full interview with Marsh and to hear his views on how politicsaffect public sector HR, see next week’s Personnel Today By Paul Yandalllast_img

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