Customs cuts red tape to speed recruitment take up

Customs & Excise has launched a new appointment and appraisal system to speed recruitment and improve management efficiency.

Department heads will now take responsibility for recruitment and the bureaucracy of the previous external appointments system will be reduced.

It is also planned to halve the HR resource that is committed to appointing and appraising the organisation’s 23,000 staff.

Richard Allen, director of HR at Customs & Excise, said, “It will be a cultural shock for the organisation because managers used to be able to hide behind the system.”

The former system was laborious, he added. Managers had to advertise posts, then wait while a sift panel of three trained staff assessed applicants’ competency-based forms. A shortlist would be drawn up and a panel would interview the candidates. On average, it took three months to fill a post.

From this month, business managers no longer have to advertise the job if they know a suitable candidate. If they do advertise they are responsible for short-listing and interviewing applicants.

The appraisal system has also been simplified. Mike Redwood, head of personnel management, said managers used to lose the equivalent of five working days a year on reviewing employees’ performance. The number of appraisals for each staff member has now been reduced from four a year to one.

Allen said it will enable Customs to reduce the number of staff dedicated to processing the system’s paperwork from 800 to 400, although he stressed that these are not job losses. Instead, they will be re-assigned other tasks.

The impetus for the change was provided by the arrival last February of a new chairman, Richard Broadbent, from asset management specialist Schroders. Allen said, “He was appalled by the paperwork and process and wanted staff to have more time for frontline work.”

By Mike Broad

Comments are closed.