The UK public sector workforce is the largest single employer in the country. With civil servants mainly assigned to Government departments and totalling around 3.5 million people in Central Government, public servants form a considerably larger workforce. According to the Office for National Statistics there were 5.36 million people employed in the public sector for March 2018, that is, 10,000 more than for December 2017. For March 2018, of all people in paid work, 16.5% were employed in the public sector. (ONS official published statistics).
Public bodies are formally established organisations that are (sometimes partly) publicly funded to deliver a public service, though not as a ministerial Government department. Public services include public goods and governmental services such as the military, police, infrastructure (public roads, bridges, tunnels, water supply, sewers, electrical grids, telecommunications, etc.), public transit, public education and healthcare etc. With such a large and diverse, skilled workforce across so many public bodies, each with their own challenges, the task of maintaining standards and driving compliance is considerable and necessarily complex. However this does not make it any less important.
Referencing the published HSE cases for 2017 and 2018 a considerable number of punitive fines for breaches in health and safety have been levied against public bodies including councils, local authorities and NHS Trusts. Breaches of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 (2/3/4) account for many of the fines levied with amounts ranging into the £millions. Consequently, anything that can be done to protect both employees and the public is worthy of serious consideration.
Most often, issues arise where rules and procedures are not followed, policies ignored and standards not maintained or not enforced strongly enough. Fines don’t always solve problems alone but act to highlights failings that must be addressed. It is far better of course to take a proactive approach to compliance across all public sector teams to minimise compliance issues as much as possible. Not only this, but iterating compliance policies and standards as frequently as possible, whilst linking to easily-digestible training can make a difference. Furthermore, by asking employees to sign compliance policies digitally, a public body is able to demonstrate levels of compliance in real-time and assist those who find it difficult to meet compliance levels and offer additional training where required.
Waiting for something to happen and then taking action can instead be transformed into an active approach to policy and standards strategy. Orchestra Read and Comply™ is easily applied to public body environments for specific teams, to target areas where compliance needs to improve, or across all departments to improve policy distribution and iterate faster updates as regulations are amended. In addition our software allows your public sector organisation to be ready for audit reviews and demonstrate its approach to being a proactively compliant public body.
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