week’s letters

public sector is a joke

raised a smile on my face today: Personnel Today’s article on ‘Tackling the
drivers of stress’ (News, 10 September). The bit that had me laughing, was the
reference to the "long hours work culture" in the public sector.

doctors apart, I doubt anyone in the public sector knows much about long hours.

had some direct experience of the public sector when I was temping as a
student. The hours were short and no one did very much. People working in the
typing pool typed two letters a day and spent the rest of the time sitting
around drinking tea and discussing what happened on Coronation Street.

this, they were all on the verge of having nervous breakdowns because of the
introduction of performance-related pay. I can see why this made them stressed
– they might actually  have had to do
some work for a change.

the professional staff weren’t very impressive. I was told off for correcting
the abysmal grammar of the surveyors whose letters I was typing.

is unsurprising that nobody with half a brain wants to work in the public
sector – everyone knows what a bunch of slow dullards the sector attracts.  

Via e-mail


is easy to criticise when you hide your identity. ‘Anonymous Bitch’ should
identify herself. If public sector HR professionals let us know what they
think, we could forward the mailbag to her.

of practice lacks experience

read with astonishment the Information Commission’s Code of Practice regarding
absence records (News, 10 September). I have to ask whether anyone in the
commission has ever tried to manage a large workforce?

have to deal with some jobs that are particularly tedious or labour intensive
and as a result, sickness absence has to be managed very carefully.

is not a question of penalising anyone for being off sick – knowing the reason
why someone is unwell allows us to look at health and safety issues when a
particular problem reoccurs. Trends can also be identified which often
highlight problems within the workplace.

are some people who seem to have a fear of paperwork and, in particular,
signing anything formal. So the likelihood of obtaining the necessary
permissions of more than 5,000 staff will be incredibly hard to achieve.

need to take a week off to recover from this news – having first allowed my
colleagues to keep this information on file.

HR adviser, Torbay Council

HR consortium is too unilateral

development of XML standards to enable e-business in the HR community would be
a welcome benefit to the HR software industry and their customers (Features, 10

we need to question the benefits of developing international formats for HR
data. The HR-XML Consortium is primarily a US-orientated organisation, with a
limited presence in the UK and the rest of Europe. The several approved HR
schemes currently available are only of real value to US-based firms.

versions have not yet been developed due to difficulties with parallel HR data
across countries, such as UK and US employment and benefits legislation. HR
administrators in the UK, for example, have little knowledge of 401ks or COBRA,
nor would US HR administrators be familiar with P45s or P60s.

HR-XML Consortiums’ vision of developing a non-language, non-legislative
communication channel, non-cultural specific for high-volume HR transactions,
may be unrealistic.

the UK, HR software providers have a multitude of emerging HR data formats to
consider such as e-GIF, British Standard formats and EDI/FBI for payroll. We
believe companies must focus on these initiatives before considering HR-XML.  

become a charter member of the Consortium, a company must pay $20,000 in the
first year, with an annual fee of $7,500. The consortium may become an elite
club that could start dictating which schemes should be used.

Customer services and product planning director, Midland Software

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