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Cath Everett

Sift Media

Freelance journalist and former editor of HRZone

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Birmingham Council to hire out staff using workforce planning tool


Birmingham City Council plans to commercially hire out workers to other local authorities with the help of a newly introduced ‘Talent Net’ workforce planning framework.

The framework will also be employed to ensure that the local authority’s skills needs are met in the face of thousands of job cuts by enabling it to identify critical roles as well as the individuals required to deliver statutory services.
The UK’s largest Council announced in February that it intended to slash headcount by more than 7,000 as part of a bid to reduce its expenditure by £300 million by 2014. It said at the time that 4,300 posts would go from its 19,000-strong workforce and a further 3,000 would be transferred from the council to a schools co-operative.
But to try and identify, retain and develop the talent that Birmingham needs for the future, the local authority’s Workforce Intelligence Planning team has developed and is using Talent Net as a tool to help.
Melanie Wood, a senior HR business partner in the WIP team, said: “As well as identifying, developing and keeping the right sort of talent for our desired model of a mobile, agile, flexible workforce, we need to identify those people not coming on the journey and coach them into the right role.”
Where such a “critical balance” had been achieved, it would then be possible, in the first instance, to lend such talent out to other local authorities. Over time, however, workers would be hired out commercially to fulfil the Council’s aim of “driving better value for the taxpayers and citizens of Birmingham”, Wood added.
A further objective of implementing Talent Net, however, was to identify top performers at all levels of the organisation, to understand and record their aspirations in a personal development record and, “through line managers’ peer group discussions, link talent to business issues”, Wood said.
One example of this approach in action might relate to an IT specialist. Their career will no longer simply evolve automatically over time but would instead be based on each individual’s potential, which would be identified and nurtured early on.
Council employees of all types would also be encouraged to take responsibility for their own career development, which included undertaking supplementary activities such as voluntary work in order to enhance their skills.
The aim of introducing Talent Net was to create a “well-managed, flexible, motivated and committed workforce that places the right people in the right place at the right time”, Wood said.
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Cath Everett

Freelance journalist and former editor of HRZone

Read more from Cath Everett

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