Would the good employer please step forward? A discussion of the "good Employer" concept in the State Sector Act 1988


  • Peter Boxall




The State Sector Act 1988 brings revolutionary change to public service personnel management and industrial relations. This paper analyzes the good employer principle contained in the Act (against a backdrop of private and public sector thought in respect of good employment behaviour. The current model of public sector personnel management is termed "accountable management" and it is argued that any notion of the good employer must be a "bounded" one. A set of assumptions in terms of good employer attitudes is established, explored in terms of particular processes and policies and a general public service pattern of employee relations is suggested. Finally, the problems of assessing chief executive performance under the Act are discussed. The argument is made that the bounded nature of the good employer principle must be recognized in chief executive appraisal as must the fact that worthwhile change in employment relations is a long term endeavo.ur. The process of becoming a good employer is never complete.


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