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Solace blog

8th July 2022

Local government workforce capacity and capability crisis

The multidimensional workforce capacity and capability crisis facing the local government sector, the topic of a recent MJ article by Matt Prosser, proved to be a recurring theme throughout LGA Conference 2022.

Indeed, Ian Thomas, Solace spokesperson for Infrastructure and Planning, and Matt Prosser, Solace spokesperson for Leadership and Learning spoke at a session as the Conference convened on exactly this issue, and have since been quoted in an LGC article highlighting warnings from Chief Executives over the ongoing crisis. Ian Thomas described workforce issues as “one of the biggest challenges of our time”, while Matt Prosser urged the sector to “come together” to solve the problem and “talk to those who are leaving… understand what you have got wrong or right – is there a reality gap?”. Click here to read the full article on the LGC.

The workforce capacity and capability crisis has long been at the top of Solace’s agenda. In last year’s Spending Review submission, Solace called for a number of urgent actions to address this situation, specifically that Government:

  • Collaborate with the sector to create a workforce strategy for local government, similar to that for teachers, nurses, and civil servants, which seeks to address both short- and longer-term challenges;
  • Invest £250m every year in education and training – equivalent to 6% of what is spent annually in health;
  • Generate a major advertising and recruitment campaign to promote the benefits of working in local government and the wider local public sector;
  • Invest £19m a year in Local First – a new training and development programme for high quality graduates and ‘career changers’ who would otherwise unlikely join a local authority and/or local public sector body;
  • Set up a Local Leadership Academy to complement the work of the National Leadership Centre;
  • Develop career frameworks for key professional disciplines experiencing recruitment/retention issues (e.g. planners, lawyers, environmental health, and building control).

More recently, Solace provided written evidence to the House of Lords Public Services Committee: Designing a public services workforce fit for the future Inquiry, demonstrating the context of the problem and continuing to make our key asks of Government. Click here to read Solace’s written evidence.