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Serving as the local authority of Blackburn with Darwen, Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council is a unitary authority, given the powers of the district council as well as the non-metropolitan county combined. Located in Lancashire, North West England, the organisation is responsible in the provision of social care, transport, schools, environmental and regeneration services for people living in the local authority of Blackburn with Darwen. Despite its critical role in addressing needs of the local people, the organisation has increasing challenges of funding cuts as well as staffing issues. This report will provide an analysis using processes, such as the PESTLE and SWOT analysis of the various issues facing Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council. Various issues will be identified through an internal and external environmental analysis of the organisation. Drawing on appropriate tools and theory, significant recommendations will be proposed to the CEO of Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council on the various HRM change approaches that can be utilised to mitigate the current situation.
Table of Contents
People need extra support and care to lead an active life. In collaboration with the national government, the Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council has put in place a social care system, which offers care for those in need, enabling them to retain their dignity and independence. As a as a unitary authority located in Lancashire, North West England, Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council has been given the powers of the district council and the non-metropolitan county combined to address the social need for people living in the local authority of Blackburn with Darwen. Like many other local organisations that have faced funding cuts, Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council has also faced significant staffing problems. For a clear understanding and identification of the staffing, there is the need to conduct an environmental analysis. The paper seeks to discuss the main staffing issues faced by Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council. The issues will be identified through an environmental analysis of the organisation drawing on appropriate tools and theory. Collected data will be discussed while examining how it would be used to anticipate changes to the HR policies and procedures in the organisation. Environmental analysis will further help Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council identify challenges, strategize, and anticipate change for improvement on HR policies.
2.1.1. Strengths: Significant strengths for the organization include: committed and skilled staff, experience in partnership working, flexible service delivery, good access to cities of Manchester, and Leeds, and that the organizations is set within Pennine Lancashire with opportunities for cross‐boundary working. To make use of its strength, the organization needs to operating at the delivery interface, close to customers, build strong professional communities as well as interchange of solutions, and promote diversity of solutions
2.1.2. Weakness: Key weaknesses include the lack of comparative performance data, uncertain funding arrangements, lack of profile, low educational attainment, as well we the low skills level. Weaknesses of local in the industry revolves fostering policies as well as administrative innovations. Despite the fact that significant claims have been made with regards to experimentation and diversity, critics have continued to point out the fact that local authorities are not differentiated from each other. The responses of the local authorities to different services are quite similar, operating with large scale and inclusive concepts of common service standards. With respect to this weakness, there is the need for the local authorities to embrace diversity when it comes to the delivery of services in the communities within which they operate. Besides, it will be important to note that the local authority employees are significantly driven by ‘mission commitment,’ hence the increased service dedication.
2.1.3. Opportunities: Among the key opportunities for the local authority include: local authority has immense opportunities, which include: new national policies for change/development, development of income generation, exploitation of E-Gov ICT initiatives, development of partnerships, and the building schools for the future programme. To achieve greater integration across local authorities’ in the highly-siloed departments, there is an increased need of cutting back office staff, as they preserve the ‘front-line’ services with significant knowledge in ICT.
2.1.4. Threats: As far as the threats in the SWOT analysis is concerned, significant threats that face the local authority include increasingly varied service responses demanded, sustaining innovation, scope of government policy change, non-statutory services., lack of funding for project, poor external image as well as the perception of the area. Three issues can be noted from the threats highlighted. To begin with there is disintegration in the sense that large bureaucracies are splitting up at all levels of governance. Secondly, there is increased competition, which moving services away from bureaucratic monopoly providers, hence introducing alternative suppliers in the industry. Lastly, there is incentivisation, which is primarily actions that tend to discourage reliance on public service ethos.
2.2.1. Political: Among the key political issues that face the local authority include meeting decent homes standard, access and accommodation strategy, white paper on local government, development of community partnerships, changing parliamentary constituencies, first time buyers’ incentive schemes, up-skilling and development issues of board, neighbourhood agenda delivered through ALMO.
2.2.2. Economic: Key economic factors outlined the pestle analysis include the affordability of local authority services, the area is made up of rural communities and hamlets, funding for housing in ex-mining communities, skills shortage in trade industry, anti-poverty and social inclusion strategy, beacon council for fostering business growth, as well as the increasing house prices.
2.2.3. Social: The social factors outlined include supply of housing does not meet demand individuality of demand, community cohesion, population impact – asylum seekers, the reduced void turnover rates, and local lettings policies have positively influence service delivery standards.
2.2.4. Technological : The key technological issues outlined in the PESTLE analysis include Mobile & home working being piloted, RBT Partnership demonstrate improvements in procurement as per Egan Principles, customer service centres to develop one stop contact approach in neighbourhoods, energy efficiency team piloting innovation
2.2.5. Legal: Some of the legal factors that affect the local authority include meeting of decent homes standard/target, DDA compliance, e-govt compliance, the implementation of the data protection act and freedom of information act, RTB legislation
2.2.6. Environmental: Key environmental issues include the lack of developable land for industry funding for housing in ex-mining communities, neighbourhood management pathfinder, skills shortage in trade industry, anti-poverty & social inclusion strategy, as well as the recent RTB trends and changes
While considering the current challenges facing Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council, there is the need for the organisation to adopt the most efficient approach to managing staff downswing due to the recent budget cuts within the organisation. Transformation and transformational power in human resource management serve an avoidable consequence of most of the available HR strategies of managing change. While staff downsizing can directly affect an organisation, there is the need to have an understanding of the fact that functionality based HR resources teams offer a broad range of support to a “one-team” strategy. The utilisation of human resource metrics with help the organisation to clearly illustrate the value of the human resource to the organisation. The rationale for using HR metrics is that it helps in the creation of customer-oriented as well as the efficient delivery of service. Besides, this approach ensures that there is a smooth implementation strategy through communicating the new mindset to the human resource staff within the organisation. Combined with specific skills of training to manage customers both at transformational as well as strategic levels.
As reported in the Lancashire Telegraph by Jacobs (2012, p. 1) the Blackburn with Darwen Council has taken the initiative to split its children’s and school services portfolio with an aim of enabling two separate executive members to address the ever-increasing challenges that continue to face borough’s young people. Splitting of these services portfolios was aimed at creating a committed executive member that had responsibilities for both education and the school. This served as an effective approach of downsizing the company staff as key employees were given multiple roles. Executive members further provide a more focused role to schools as well as the changing education landscape in the community.
The data for the current study was collected from relevant materials such as recently published reports about the organisation. A market research checklist was applied when searching for the appropriate materials. The data collected for the current study was to provide significant information on the council’s responses to specific problems. Factors that were considered in the collection of data include the outcomes that were to be measured, the information needed to indicate success of the council, how and who will use the collected information, the feasibility of colleting the data, resources needed to analyse, interpret, as well as report the data.
The researchers utilized the data that the council uses and reports on a regular basis. The set of data were mostly driven by both the national and local government, as well as oversite agencies. While some of the data was publicly available, others were not. Common reports that were used in the research included retention and hiring rates, and employee profiles, among others.
When employee’s welfare is given priority, improved performance can be recorded. When Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council implements the transformational hr strategy of change, the existing employees will be motivated to understand the functioning of the HR department, hence increased collaboration among teams. Besides, when the needs of employees are met, the organisation’s performance will improve leading to improved employee retention.
The key role of Human Resource within an organisation, in the context of this paper, is to facilitate change. There is an increased need to have a better understanding of the role of Human Resource in facilitating change within an organisation. A concerned HR should play a critical role in the achievement of the continuous improvements in the not only individual but also organisational performance. Boxall and Purcell (2015, p. 56) argued that one of the key roles of HR professionals is to act as change agent, who deliver both organisational transformation as well as culture change. Fig. 1 presents an example of the various techniques used by the human resource management in facilitating change within an organisation.
Figure 1A figure illustrating an example of techniques used by the human resource management to promote change within an organisation
A strategic human resource management revolves around the management of change in the course of the implementation process because it focuses on the production of long-term goals of the organisation. For HRM to facilitate within the organisation, it should constantly be sensitive to the various processes of organisational change, while avoiding being trapped with the logic rational choices. With regards to the importance of HRM, Farnham, et al., 2010) noted that change serves as an important strategy of HRM because the concern of the HR department revolves around aligning the most efficient HRM practices to achieve organisational objectives. Organisations that achieves success in the management of change is that which integrates HRM policies with the strategic change process and strategies. HR operational functions, such as employee relation, training, as well as the creation of compensation packages significantly relate to the direction and nature of the firm because they can either block a strategic change or facilitate a strategic change.
The CEO of Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council needs to understand that the Human Resource (HR) practices used in both private and public sectors globally continue to evolve and advance. The HR practices and policies are strategically used by organisations to solve challenges that may face them. The relevance of PESTLE and SWOT analysis is that they focus on various aspects of the organisation including political, economic, social, technological, and legal. The wide range of social care, transport, schools, environmental and regeneration services, its current lean and efficient processes of minimising operating cost, the continuous innovation in the offered services, its cost-effective patients support solutions have been identified as the key strengths. On the other hand, the Increasing awareness for social needs and the demand for quality social care solutions as well as tie-ups with community social care centres are some of the opportunities identified in the study.
While putting into consideration the importance of an effective change management strategies, the CEO should integrate the most efficient HRM practices to achieve success. While considering facilitating change as the key role of HRM, the implementation of the transformational HR strategy of change will serve as an effective approach to addressing the current staffing challenges at the organisation. Transformation and transformational power in HRM will help address the avoidable consequence of the available HR strategies of managing change. While restructuring can directly affect an organisation, functionality based HR resources teams should be understood in the process as they offer a broad range of support to a “one-team” strategy.
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Appendix 7.1. PESTLE Analysis
|Examples||The Potential Impact|
|Political||Meeting Decent Homes standard/target
Access & Accommodation strategy
White Paper on Local Government
Development of Community Partnerships
Changing Parliamentary constituencies
First Time buyers’ incentive schemes
Up-skilling and development issues of
Neighbourhood agenda delivered
|Economic||Affordability of services
Area made up of rural communities and
Funding for housing in ex-mining
Neighbourhood Management Pathfinder
Skills shortage in trade industry
Anti-poverty & Social Inclusion strategy
Beacon Council for Fostering Business
Increasing house prices
|Social||Supply of housing does not meet
Individuality of demand
Population impact – asylum seekers
Void turnover rates have reduced
Local Lettings Policies have positively
Overall surplus of affordable housing of
Lessening demand for 1 bed bungalows
Lowering numbers of difficult
|Technological||E-govt agenda/priorities to be delivered
by Dec 2005
Palm held ICT in use for Stock Condition
Mobile & home working being piloted
RBT Partnership demonstrate
improvements in procurement as per
Customer Service Centres to develop
one stop contact approach in
Energy efficiency team piloting innovation
|Legal||Meeting Decent Homes standard/target
Data Protection Act
Freedom of Information Act
|The government has hailed this as a significant step to curb tax evasion.|
|Environmental||Lack of developable land for industry
Funding for housing in ex-mining
Neighbourhood Management Pathfinder
Skills shortage in trade industry
Anti-poverty & Social Inclusion strategy
Beacon Council for Fostering Business
RTB trends and changes
|In comparison, the French and German markets grew with CAGRs of 3.4 percent and 3.3 percent over the same period, to reach respective values of $11.7 billion and $23.5 billion in 2011.|
Appendices 7.2. SWOT Analysis
|Committed and skilled staff
|Lack of comparative performance data
|New national policies for change/development
|Increasingly varied service responses demanded
|Experience in partnership working
|Uncertain funding arrangements||Development of income generation||Scope of Government policy change
|Flexible service delivery
|Lack of profile
|Exploitation of E-gov ICT initiatives
|Good access to cities of Manchester, Liverpool and Leeds;||Low educational attainment;||Development of partnerships
|Lack of funding for projects|
|Set within Pennine Lancashire with opportunities for cross‐boundary working||Low skills level.||Building Schools for the Future programme.||Poor external image and perception of the area|