Public servants in the spotlight

7 Sep 00
The public sector has a serious image problem which is discouraging young people from seeing it as a worthwhile career and creating a recruitment crisis, according to the chief executive of the King's Fund.

08 September 2000

Rabbi Julia Neuberger made the assertion at the launch of the Public Finance Public Servants of the Year Awards. She said the awards would be one way of highlighting the innovation and high standards that are widespread but rarely publicised in the public sector.

'Public services aren't seen by most people as being a fashionable thing to get into. Most of the young at university don't look at going into public services as a first option, or you are an unusual person if you do,' she said.

'We can't recruit nurses at the moment, we can't recruit care assistants, police officers and teachers and we are increasingly having difficulty recruiting doctors. It is not seen to be glamorous working in the public sector and it is certainly not seen as well paid.'

Neuberger, who is chair of the awards judging panel, said there was a need to 'engender a passion' back into public services. She hoped that the awards would be part of that process.

Mavis McDonald, the permanent secretary of the Cabinet Office and also an awards' judge, said that her department was fully supportive of the Public Finance initiative.

'Ministers view the competition as an excellent way to promote the principles they are pursuing through the Modernising Government agenda. In particular, it is a good way to promote best practice within and between sectors,' she said.

Entry to the awards is open to anyone working in the public sector and so could include lollipop ladies, teachers, nurses, managers and chief executives. A ceremony will take place next May at the Queen Elizabeth II Centre in London.

There are five sectoral awards – central government, local government, health, education and housing – and six cross-sectoral awards, including one for frontline worker and one for e-champion. Entries need to be received by November 30.

For entry forms and further details, contact Nikki Christie at CIPFA, 3 Robert Street, London WC2N 6BH.


Did you enjoy this article?