MP Lynne Featherstone defends anonymous CVs plan

The MP who suggested names should be banned from job applications to prevent discrimination has stood by her proposal despite it attracting fierce criticism from the HR profession.

Lynne Featherstone, Liberal Democrat MP and party spokeswoman for equality, suggested earlier this month that the Equality Bill should include an amendment to ban names and other personal information from inclusion on CVs and written applications so that employers could not glean any information about gender, race or age before candidates were called for interview.

The suggestion, which would result in job candidates listing their national insurance numbers as a means of identification, was quickly shot down by HR chiefs as “bureaucracy gone mad”.

A Personneltoday.com online poll which ended yesterday also revealed that 73% of the 323 respondents said names should not be banned from job applications.

But in her comment on Personnel Today’s Editors’ Blog, Featherstone said: “Of course, one action such as this [banning names] won’t end discrimination in the workplace or getting into the workplace. However, it may well eliminate some of the barriers to interview. Since floating this, lots of people believe it to be a very good, very cheap and very easy step to take.”

She added that some employers already use nameless CVs as part of their employment process to prevent discrimination.

The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) is also broadly in favour of the idea, but has cautioned against it becoming mandatory.

The Government Equalities Office said it would consider Featherstone’s idea when the Equality Bill reached committee stage, due to be next Tuesday (2 June).

The Bill, which includes measures to force employers to publish their gender pay gaps after 2013, passed its second reading earlier this month after a Conservative motion to reject it was defeated by 322 votes to 139.

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