This week’s letters

Healey’s support welcomed by IIP

We welcome the skills minister John Healey’s unequivocal support for
Investors in People (IIP), as well as the additional funding announced on the
front page of Personnel Today (News, 9 April).

This extra financial resource, coupled with the Government’s clear advocacy,
gives IIP a solid platform for building on past successes. It will help take
the IIP Standard to the forefront of the drive to improve skills and
productivity in the UK.

IIP has strong support across the whole of the UK, with 25,600 organisations
having met the requirements of the IIP Standard. This represents 25 per cent of
the UK workforce.

A further 16 per cent of people work for organisations which have made a
formal commitment to working with the standard and moving towards recognition.

Although the changeover from Training and Enterprise Councils to Learning
and Skills Councils – now the main delivery network for the IIP Standard across
England – temporarily affected the throughput of IIP recognitions earlier in
the year, the pace has now picked up considerably.

The total number of recognitions has more than doubled in the past three
years – with many more expected over the coming months and into the future.

Given these figures, IIP is quite obviously a robust ongoing proposition at
the heart of the Government’s workplace development initiative. Far from
needing to be "propped up", IIP is set to drive the agenda to promote
productivity and skills.

Ruth Spellman
Chief executive, Investors in People UK

Little forethought given to the LSCs

In response to the article ‘Government acts to prop up faltering IIP’ (News,
9 April), I would like to comment as an IIP practitioner and a witness to the
transition from TECs to LSCs.

IIP is simply a tool used to implement an ethos of good people management
and development. In my opinion, the primary reason why IIP does not have the
impact it should in organisations is the commitment to its ethos shown by the
participating organisations themselves.

In principle, a more skilled, more knowledgeable and more motivated
workforce will directly impact on the bottom line, but where organisations’
leaders do not truly share this ethos, the tool is not used to its maximum

The reason why IIP accreditations are down is due to the transition from
TECs to LSCs. Very little forethought was given to IIP when setting up the LSCs
and throughout this painful transition, I watched the rate and quality of
customer relationship management and client contact steadily fall, as people
became concerned about their own futures.

Is it any wonder IIP performance has dropped? And, one year since the LSCs
were born, many of them are still ‘formulating strategy’, while the remaining
IIP practitioners are doing their best with the little they have.

In short, it would be easy to use IIP as a scapegoat, but the real reason
why the Government has to ‘prop up’ IIP now is that it failed to act with
foresight in 1999. The reason research tells us that IIP is not affecting
productivity is not the fault of the tool, but of a lack of employers’ faith
and commitment of the underpinning principles.

If we blame the tool, we pave the way for another ‘management fad’. This
might keep civil servants in work but will have little impact on the nation’s

Colin Davies
Operations manager, The Mega Centre, Sheffield

Is HR changing for the worst?

I have always believed that there is a professional bond linking members of
the HR profession. Cold calls to other commercial or industry personnel
practitioners to seek advice or information were always accepted, resulting in
helpful conversations of mutual interest.

Recently I have completely failed to get through to two personnel directors
– one of a large local business and one national – despite multiple phone calls
and messages over a period of weeks. I always stress that I am not a consultant
or salesman, but neither chose to talk to me.

Has something changed in the profession? Or is there simply no sense of
community among modern HR professionals. I would be interested to hear of other
readers’ experiences.

Richard Bonnie
Group personnel director, A&P Group Limited

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