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Acas predicts recession pain for public sector ahead of national conference

Friday 05 June 2009

Longer-term effects of the downturn to hit public sector over the next 12 months.

Acas, the employment relations service, has today published a new policy discussion paper that sheds light on the longer term effects of the downturn on the UK employment landscape.

Ahead of its 'resilience through recession' national conference, held alongside the Chartered Institute for Personnel and Development (CIPD) on 11 June, the paper highlights that the downturn will have a delayed impact on the public sector, resulting in job losses.

According to Acas, despite the private sector taking the majority of the redundancy blows to date, the recession will have a long lasting impact on the public sector.

The full effects may not be apparent immediately but local councils are already suffering reduced income from business rates and other sources. Spending on public services will also be reduced in the near future.

The 2009 Budget announced ambitious efficiency plans from 2011 when the next three-year spending review period begins, including £2.3 billion of savings in health. At the same time as public services are squeezed financially, as the recession intensifies there is a growing demand for public services

Ed Sweeney, Acas Chair commented: "The impact of the recession on the employment landscape is still emerging, but it is already a picture that is full of contradictions, complexities and challenges.

"As the workplace responds to the pressures brought about by the downturn, it has never been more important to engage employees and maintain morale. Otherwise there is an increased risk of disputes arising."

Resilience through recession: The crucial role of people management and development is taking place at the Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre, London, SW1P 3EE. For full details please visit

Notes for editors

  1. Acas' aim is to improve organisations and working life through better employment relations. It provides information, advice, training and a range of services working with employers and employees to prevent or resolve problems and improve performance. It is an independent statutory body governed by a Council consisting of the Acas Chair and employer, trade union and independent members. 

  2. Acas and CIPD joint Summit, London, 11 June 2009. Themes of this event will include: Management skills in difficult times, Why is employee engagement important during a downturn?, The key role of skills through recession, Labour market outlook: the implications for people management, Developing skills in the workplace.
    For more details or to register for this event please

  3. Resilience Through Recession - The Crucial Role of People Management and Development will be hosted at the Queen Elizabeth 2 Conference Centre in London.

  4. Acas' latest Policy Discussion Paper, The recession: what the future holds for employment relations, can be viewed  for free at

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