CIPD under attack from within in run-up to Harrogate

A senior figure at the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) has launched a pre-Harrogate attack on the way the body is run.

The central London branch secretary called for an overhaul of the CIPD – just weeks before its flagship annual conference next month.

Barry Hoffman called on new chief executive Jackie Orme to make radical changes for the sake of the HR profession.

He said the current state of the profession was poor “except at senior level, where it is variable”, and that the CIPD was not best set up to improve it.

“Jackie Orme should leave no stone unturned at the CIPD,” Hoffman said. “She needs to make changes. The structure, constitution and operation of the institute should be reviewed.”

Hinting at the need for new personnel at the top, Hoffman added: “There can be no sacred cows.”

Hoffman, HR director at IT outsourcing provider Computacenter, stepped down from the post of chairman at the CIPD’s central London branch in May.

While praising the work of research and policy director Linda Holbeche and professional development director Mike Watts, Hoffman said the CIPD had a long way to go to catch up with other professional bodies.

“Why is it relentlessly focusing on branch activities that are so difficult for people to attend?” he asked. “For most busy people in the profession, what do they get from these, other than the odd employment law update?”

Hoffman added that the institute’s events were too often aimed at students rather than HR directors, and that its ways of presenting information had not caught up with technology.

The central London branch is the CIPD’s biggest, with 6,000 members.

CIPD hits back at criticism

The CIPD insisted it was working hard to stay relevant to the HR profession. A spokesman said: “The HR profession is growing and evolving, and so is the CIPD. We’re in good form, with record numbers of members and a solid financial performance.

“We’re working constantly to develop the research and knowledge to remain relevant, ahead of the game and to continuously improve what we do for HR. Jackie Orme is driving this work to ensure a bright future for the CIPD as the leading voice for a confident profession.

“We don’t see funding the services we offer digitally and funding our branches as an either/or decision. It is important that we offer a diverse range of local and national events and other services.

“We’re doing that already, and we’ll continue looking for ways to do more for everyone from the most senior to the newest starters in the profession.”

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