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Public Services at Risk: The implications of work intensification for the wellbeing and effectiveness of PCS members

FRENCH, Steve (2014) Public Services at Risk: The implications of work intensification for the wellbeing and effectiveness of PCS members. Research report for external body. Public and Commercial Services Union.

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Abstract or description

This paper investigates the workload and work-life balance of members of the Public and Commercial Services union (PCS) working in Government Departments and Executive Agencies, Non Departmental Governmental Bodies and in the private and commercial sectors. The research underpinning this argument is based upon the findings of a survey of PCS members which explores their working hours, their workload and the influence they are able to exert to control their workload.

The research also explores the impact of working hours and workload upon members’ work-life balance and their experience of stress and ill health. The potential impact of the changes to terms and conditions outlined in the Cabinet Office proposals of December 2012 are also examined.

The research was conducted through a web-based survey of PCS members conducted between August and September 2013. In total, 4,827 civil servants participated in the survey. The results are also compared with the findings of a smaller survey of PCS members from 2006 using a number of matched questions.

The findings highlight:

• increased working hours and commuting time, lengthening the working day for members;
• workload intensification driven by reduced staffing, new working practices and performance management;
• limited access to, but perceived effectiveness of, policies designed to promote employee-friendly flexible working and the work-life balance; and
• significant levels of workplace stress and sick leave levels, leading to evidence of stress-related errors at work which affect the delivery of public services

While it is important to stress that the report focuses upon analysing the overall findings, highlighting the impact of work intensification on a large proportion of PCS members, analysis of disaggregated data also indicates that members who are disabled, members of black and minority ethnic communities and those with caring responsibilities for adult relatives are disproportionately affected by current working hours patterns, workload levels, finding it particularly difficult to maintain a work-life balance.

Comparison of the results of the two surveys also highlight the impact of the financial crisis and the current austerity policies of the Coalition Government, with most data indicating that the situation facing PCS members has worsened considerably since 2006.

Item Type: Monograph or Report (Research report for external body)
Faculty: School of Business, Leadership and Economics > Business, Management and Marketing
Depositing User: Library STORE team
Date Deposited: 18 Feb 2019 09:54
Last Modified: 24 Feb 2023 13:54

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