Government acts to prop up faltering IIP

The Government has intervened to prop up the Investors in People scheme
after the number of employers completing the accreditation dropped by almost
half.

Education and Skills Minister John Healey has committed an additional £2.5m
to the scheme after only 1,185 companies achieved the IIP standard in the four
months to January this year, compared to 2,341 for the same period last year.

Healey said the money will be used to raise the profile and improve delivery
of IIP which is vital to the Government’s plans for boosting the UK’s
productivity.

He has no doubt of its benefit to the bottom line, despite research by the
Institute of Directors which found that only a quarter of IIP-accredited
employers believe the standard has increased productivity.

Healey said: "Investors in People is central to our plans for boosting
skills in this country.

"Output per worker is about 30 per cent below US levels and, in part,
this reflects lower investment in infrastructure and physical capital, but it
is also a failure to invest sufficiently in human capital – we have a workforce
which is less well educated and trained than our main competitors."

The responsibility for administering IIP transferred from the Training and
Enterprise Councils to the Learning and Skills Council a year ago, but Healey
denied criticisms that the transition might have contributed to the falling
number of firms being accredited.

Ann Bailey, head of education and training affairs at the Engineering
Employers Federation, welcomed the Government’s investment in IIP and stressed
its importance to improving productivity.

"IIP is helping close the productivity gap. It allows companies to
develop employees to their maximum potential, which means they become more
productive. That is why IIP accreditation is linked to the overall productivity
and bottom line of the company," said Bailey.

John Stevens, director of development and public policy at the CIPD, said:
"Evidence shows that organisations with the accreditation find it useful and
go through it a second or third time."

By Ross Wigham

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