week’s letters

of the Week: Good practice key to tribunal disease

Today is so right that better management systems will help minimise the growing
number of applications to employment tribunals (Comment, 3 April). Acas has
been advocating the "nip in the bud" approach since it was

are putting increasing emphasis on promoting good practice in the workplace by
helping to develop constructive dialogue between employers and employees –
every year we help thousands of businesses build better management systems.

promote hundreds of joint advisory workshops to address communication and
consultation issues. But as long as applications continue to be sent to
tribunals, Acas will conciliate to try to reach a settlement (75 per cent
success rate last year) and will offer our new arbitration service for unfair
dismissal claims that are not successfully conciliated.

thousand cases in the first year many seem modest, but if employers, and
employees, avoid cost, time, publicity and stress by using the Acas arbitration
scheme then it may catch on.

may be a small bucket, but we are determined that the ocean liner will not sink.


Chairwoman, Acas

given a chance to prove its worth

do not think the new Acas scheme will reduce the number of tribunals (News, 3
April). But I strongly believe that HR departments have an opportunity to
further demonstrate their worth by introducing good policies and offering
practical training for managers, thus reducing the number of cases going to


Via e-mail

method raised our profits

"Ready Reckoner really is a bargain" (Letters, 3 April) and the
Recruitment Cost Ready Reckoner (Feature, 20 February), we are a recruitment
agency that charges £3,000. £3,000 to appoint a candidate from our database,
£3,000 per stage for a headhunt.

clients seem to like it, for example the MD who recently recruited a sales
director from our files for £3,000, and we still manage to make a decent living
since we gave up percentages – in fact we are busier than ever.


Managing director, Knight Selection

reckoner figures were real

just wanted to reassure Sharon Cooper (Letters, 3 April) and other HR directors
about the recruitment fees set out in the Cost Ready Reckoner, which appeared
in the 20 February issue of Personnel Today.

are all absolutely genuine. I compiled those figures based on the services
provided by my company. I know it is not usual for agencies to reveal this kind
of information, but PPS works to a set fee for each assignment. Having been on
the HR side of the desk I do understand the desirability of working this way.

fee covers our services, but the client is responsible for the cost of the
response generation or the mechanism used to attract applicants.

an atypical recruitment consultancy, Sharon Cooper can rest assured that PPS
will not be cold-calling her, but will send a letter. I do hope to receive a
reply by post, e-mail or over the phone.


Managing director, PPS

can be great, with a little effort

my 30 years plus as a personnel practitioner, I was taught that to be
successful you had to fight everyone else’s battles. That is certainly true in
relation to the reactionary role that personnel people have to play.

I find increasingly disturbing is the well-publicised battles in the
profession, which undermine personnel practitioners and demean the CIPD.

the past year, we have had absurd debates on what to call practitioners as well
as more of the debate on whether personnel people add value.  Then we had Paul Kearns and Bob Morton
exchanging radical views, which are well adrift of the mark.

have seen the institute grow in size and stature. It has a good leader in Geoff
Armstrong, who has vision and focus in terms of how the profession should be
contributing to business performance. It is also involved in extensive
networking and lobbying.

there is a string of plus points, there are also shortfalls. The institute has
not established itself fully as a provider of qualified, competent
practitioners. Look no further than Personnel Today (27 March) in which Morton
says, "The CIPD qualification is popular among employers". In the
same issue there were 140 adverts for personnel practitioners. Less than half
stated a requirement for CIPD membership.

want high-class performers, whether they are CIPD members or not.

effectiveness of the CIPD will grow if members fully participate in its
running, seek to improve their capability and contribution and, above all,
direct the body to spend more time facilitating world-class best practice and
be more persistent in opposing inhibiting legislation.

everything is great, but it can be if we make it so!

Hugh Billot
Director, Troika Management Consultants

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