Employer anger over lack of consultation on monitoring

Employer
bodies are making formal complaints to the Government this week over the
Information Commission’s handling of the code on monitoring in the workplace.

The
CIPD and CBI have protested over the complexity, length and content of the
code, and accused the Information Commission of not providing an adequate
opportunity for consultation.

Diane
Sinclair, lead adviser on public policy at the CIPD, claims the commission’s
failure to clarify what is best practice or legal requirement in the code will
create difficulties for HR.

“We
are dissatisfied with the Information Commission’s response to our complaints
concerning the code,” she said. “I again raised the legality of the code and
the separation between best practice and the law, but I was told the decision
over the format has been made and will not change. This is wholly
unsatisfactory – if the Information Commission is unable to separate the two
then how will employers?”

The
CIPD and CBI also complained about being given only 10 days to respond to the
final draft of the monitoring code.

Susannah
Haan, legal adviser to the CBI, said: “The problem is over what is
consultation? Is it that the Information Commission gets to chose who they
consult with, who can respond and when it is done? It needs wider consultation
and more time for organisations to respond – even if that means more work for
the commission.”

Both
bodies want the release of the code to be delayed to allow for a four-week and
wider consultation process.

David
Smith, deputy information commissioner, claimed the commission had met and
surpassed its obligations to consult and will not change the code’s structure.

 “We do listen to suggestions
at meetings and have made changes accordingly,” he said.

By Paul Nelson

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