Citation: Grey , S & Shelley , S 2005 ' Modernisation, managerialism and HRM : the reality in a small council ' Business School Working Papers , vol. UHBS 2005-3 , University of Hertfordshire .
This paper examines the operation of HRM in local government in the UK, a hitherto relatively unexplored sector as far as the study of work and management is concerned. Further, the literature as it exists focuses (almost) entirely on County Councils and District Councils. This paper redresses the balance as it considers the nature of HRM in the more local council structure, and takes as its empirical base a case study of a Town Council. The significance of this paper is in its location in the broader national policy context of performance management, quality management and funding, generally cited as an agenda for modernisation of public services and, specifically for local government, manifested in this case in the Best Value initiative. The modernisation agenda is said to include devolution of powers and responsibilities to enable local democracy, but with centralised regulation and an emphasis on leadership and managerialism. The paper concludes that the challenge facing those working in this sector will be to sustain employee commitment in this changing environment