HR qualification for councils

The Society of Chief Personnel Officers (Socpo) is developing a new
qualification for its members, to improve the skill levels of HR practitioners
in local government.

Socpo’s new president Francesca Okosi exclusively revealed to Personnel Today
that the qualification aims to develop HR professionals who can lead and
influence change in local government.

Socpo’s career progression programme will be launched in the autumn and will
be available to all personnel professionals in local government. The modules
currently being developed include best value, e-government, how to be
influential in a political environment and private/public partnerships.

It is not intended to replace the CIPD qualification for HR professionals.

Okosi said: "Both [qualifications] have a place. The CIPD qualification
gives people the technical competence to be an HR professional and get a foot
in the door, but it does not – and the CIPD would argue it cannot – cater for
the uniqueness of being an HR professional in the public sector or local

Details of how the course will be delivered have to be agreed, but Okosi
said it will not be a "one size fits-all" approach.

She said the qualification is an important part of developing a larger
membership among more junior HR staff. Socpo aims to increase its membership
ten-fold to 5,000 people.

"Now that we have opened up our membership we have got to offer
something worthwhile for all our members at all levels. If we do not do this,
then I am not sure what we are doing or what we are here for," she said.

Okosi claimed that there are plans to extend the qualification to the whole
public sector, including the Civil Service.

The idea has already been put to Socpo’s equivalent in the NHS – the
Association of Healthcare Human Resource Management (AHHRM) – which is said to
be ‘very interested’.

By Paul Nelson

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