Work issues put at heart of government

The
restructuring of Whitehall has placed workplace issues at the centre of
government, claims the CIPD.

John
Philpott, the institute’s chief economist, explained that the reformed departments
are better equipped to deliver the Government’s objectives of increased
employment, improved work quality and higher productivity levels.

The
merger of the employment service with the Department of Social Security to
create a new Department for Work and Pensions will lead to a greater focus on
employment policy.

Philpott
said, "This has completely demolished the old-fashioned concept of social
security and is much more work focused."

The
transfer of the employment division from the old DfEE is also good news for the
HR profession, claims Philpott.

He
said, "There was a tendency before for the skills agenda to get mixed up
with Welfare for Work agenda. But the creation of a Department of Work and
Pensions means there will be more scope for workforce development."

He
also welcomed Patricia Hewitt’s appointment as Trade and Industry Secretary and
Minister for Women.

"This
is a politically shrewd move. It will provide an opportunity for linking
work-life balance issues with issues of productivity," he said.

The
DTI has taken on equal opportunities and pay issues as well as work-life
balance from the Department for Education and Skills.

The
shape of key government departments

Department
of Trade and Industry:

Secretary
of state: Patricia Hewitt
Focus: Trade, inward investment, equal opportunities, pay, work-life balance

Department
of Work and Pensions:

Secretary
of state: Alistair Darling
Focus: Employment, with its transfer from DfEE

Department
for Education and Skills:

Secretary
of state: Estelle Morris
Focus: Raising standards in education in secondary schools and by getting more
students into higher education

Home
Office:

Secretary
of state: David Blunkett
Focus: Tackling crime, reform of criminal justice system and asylum

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