Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Look to the Authority for Flexibility; for a Family-Friendly and Flexible Job, Consider Applying to a Public Sector Organisation Such as Your Local Council, as Many Are Leading the Way in New Ways of Working, Writes Niki Chesworth

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Look to the Authority for Flexibility; for a Family-Friendly and Flexible Job, Consider Applying to a Public Sector Organisation Such as Your Local Council, as Many Are Leading the Way in New Ways of Working, Writes Niki Chesworth

Article excerpt

Byline: writes Niki Chesworth

WHATEVER you think of the pay and prospects in the public sector, staff have higher levels of job satisfaction than those working in the private sector.

They are also increasingly benefiting from flexible working, which can be more attractive than a salary rise to many employees -- and not just working mothers. More than a third of working fathers would take a pay cut to achieve a better work/life balance and spend more time with their children, according to the latest Working Families Modern Families Index report. Flexible working has a particularly beneficial impact for commuters, who face long (often delayed) journeys.

So it is probably no surprise that seven in 10 Londoners who work flexibly are satisfied with their jobs, compared to half who do not have the option, according to recent research from the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD).

What many candidates may not realise is that local authorities are ahead of the curve when it comes to implementing flexible working practices. In 2014, Camden Council became the first Timewise Council, championing new ways of working, including encouraging flexible working requests as part of all job adverts. It had an almost immediate impact, with one in five new starters working with a flexible arrangement by the start of 2015.

Since then, Lambeth, Islington, City of Westminster, Hackney and Haringey have all become Timewise Councils and are incorporating smarter approaches to job design and promoting flexibility in order to attract a more diverse, skilled talent pool.

Croydon has just joined them as a Timewise Council, and is encouraging staff to work at times that suit them, as well as providing technological solutions -- including laptops and tablets -- to support this wherever practical.

London's councils are also using their influence to encourage employers in their boroughs to adopt a similar approach. "Starting with their own workforce, the ambition is to support innovation in shaping future public service delivery and through work with residents and employers to stimulate local labour market flexibility," says Emma Stuart, joint CEO of Timewise.

Cllr Alisa Flemming, Croydon's cabinet member for children, young people and learners, adds: "We want as many firms as possible to adopt these new ways of thinking about when and where people work."

Croydon is not alone. Westminster has just launched a toolkit to help businesses in its borough to become more family-friendly. Published by the Cross River Partnership, London's biggest public/private regeneration partnership, the aim of the programme is to help candidates get back into the workplace through more flexible working. With the latest employment figures in the capital once again showing that unemployment is falling -- with just 5. …

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