This week’s letters

In praise of cutting
the waiting time

The RNID is right to
comment on the length of time taken to access funds under the Access to Work
Scheme (News, 20 March).

As part of an
organisation committed to increasing the number of disabled people it employs,
the role of the disability employment adviser and access to funds to assist
adjustments is crucial.

We are aware of the
increasing workload on these services, but that is to be expected as
organisations become more aware of the benefits of employing disabled people.

Our experience shows
that when the assessment for Access to Work funds is completed in advance of
appointment, it still takes a long time for the equipment to be provided or the
funds to be reimbursed.

The recommendations by
the RNID that there be an agreed four-week timeframe would be very welcome. I
hope the Government will take heed and undertake a fundamental review of the
Access to Work Scheme.

Jane Goodwin
Acting equalities adviser, Hampshire County Council

Regulations just for
the sake of it?

I have just read an
article on the Recruitment and Employment Confederation website written by the
REC chief executive Tim Nicholson, which was first published in Personnel

I am dismayed at the
laidback attitude to the new regulations, which could prove disastrous to
smaller agencies and employment businesses. As it points out, the most noise
was made about the temp-to-perm question, which is not very relevant to small,
specialised agencies dealing with highly paid consultants and project managers.
The other rules will have much greater impact.

Many agencies and
small employment businesses dealing with contractors may be forced to pull out
of the market. The regulations forbid an employment business (contract agency)
to put a clause in contracts asking for a customer-signed timesheet before
paying the contractor, even if the contractor is a limited company. The
customer can still insist on having one. This makes validation of contractor
invoices more difficult and will make it almost impossible to arrange factoring
or discounting of invoices.

Contractors beware.
They will soon be in the same situation as farmers, dealing with a few big
customers who dictate prices.

This is not the
"nanny state" at work, this is regulation for the sake of it. I am
going to start an employment agency supplying inspectors to the DTI. I think it
will need a lot of them! Perhaps I will apply for the job myself.

Michael Organe
Managing director, Project

Children let down on
basic literacy

Regarding the article
by Malcolm Wicks MP on the Government’s crusade to ensure that all adults have
the chance to get basic literacy and numeracy skills, why don’t we concentrate
on giving the children better basic skills and not wait until they become
adults and unable to secure employment?  

I know of an
11-year-old who has Attention Deficit Hyperactive Deficiency, and so is not an
easy pupil. He has moved from one part of the country to another and has not
been able to go to school since July 2000 as there is no vacancy in his area.
This is when basic skills should be given by home tutors.

We have let our
children down and it is no wonder the Government now has to spend £10bn to put
right what is lacking in our education system. Money should be spent ensuring
people are taught basic skills from childhood.

Elizabeth Oliver
Recruitment and training

Via e-mail

Letter of the Week

The good, the bad and the squabbles

Re Personnel Today
(Features and Comment, 27 March):

1 – High Jon Parsons’
comment when asked the worst thing about working in personnel: "The
incessant angst of a section of the HR profession and its media over its
contribution and status."

2 – Low Bob Morton’s
emotional and largely subjective criticism of Paul Kearns’ emotional and
largely subjective criticism of the CIPD. He criticises Kearns for being
"no fan of the CIPD", then goes on to sing its praises. Hardly an
objective thought between them, and nothing new.

Most of us left this
type of squabbling in the playground. Perhaps they should read 1 above and
leave the self-publicity to Popstars.

Michael Walshe
Via e-mail

Do all candidates meet
same grade?

Bob Morton made the
point that the CIPD qualification is popular among employers and CIPD-qualified
practitioners earn more.

This however, raises
the issue of how those qualifications are assessed, because there is a
discrepancy between educational institutions entering students for nationally
set exams and those accredited by the CIPD to assess students internally.

National results are
published, but those of accredited centres are not, and there has long been
concern that students sitting national exams may be subject to more rigorous
assessment than those doing internally assessed ones.

With the chartered
status, the absence of transparent qualification assessment procedure is
untenable, but the CIPD is reticent in responding to such concerns.

Izabela Robinson
Via e-mail

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