Leading HR directors have called on the CIPD to toughen up its rules after it emerged one of its members was named as a British National Party (BNP) activist.
A leaked list of BNP members published online last week identified the individual - who runs an HR consultancy - as a member of the far-right political party, and the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development.
The CIPD refused to condemn the member or take any action against him. A spokesman said: "We do not know, nor are we willing to discuss, the political affiliations and personal opinions of individual members."
But senior practitioners told Personnel Today that membership of HR's professional body and the BNP were incompatible. The CIPD's code of professional conduct states: "Members... are required to exercise integrity, honesty, diligence and appropriate behaviour in all their business, professional and related personal activities".
Pam Parkes, HR director at Croydon Council, said: "I do not agree that a fellow member can abide by the CIPD code of conduct and its stance on equality and diversity, and at the same time be an activist for a far-right political party."
Another HR director added: "If the CIPD wishes to be taken seriously, it needs to be prepared to take action against its members who infringe the code - in the same way many other professional organisations do. Turning a blind eye only serves to make it difficult to respect as a serious professional body."
Angela O'Connor, chief people officer at the National Policing Improvement Agency, said: "I would not employ a known BNP member as an HR consultant as I would have absolutely no confidence in their ability to provide advice on any subject related to people issues."
The BNP list dates from 2007, and some people named are no longer members. The individual in question denied being a current member or activist, but insisted that being so would not be incompatible with practising HR.
"If we continue down that path, we should also be looking at religion and many other areas of life," he said.
What the BNP stands for
According to its manifesto, the BNP wants to offer "firm but voluntary" incentives for immigrants and their families to return to t