Northern Rock HR must now comply with public sector laws

Northern Rock may have to make major changes to its HR policies to ensure the newly nationalised bank complies with public sector employment law, an expert has warned.

HR professionals at Northern Rock face the sudden prospect of carrying out equal pay audits and complying with extensive rules that apply to state-owned organisations.

Mark Haworth, employment specialist at law firm HBJ Gateley Wareing, told Personnel Today: “It is unchartered territory, but Northern Rock may well be subject to the same duties as other public sector bodies having to show due regard to eliminating unlawful discrimination when carrying out its functions.”

HR staff used to operating in the private sector and the financial services industry will have a shock adapting to life in what is effectively a public sector environment, he added.

“The HR team is going to have to be substantially trained or changed to make sure they are fulfilling all the extra duties that burden public sector organisations,” Haworth said.

How many of the HR team will survive the expected hefty round of redundancies at the bank remains to be seen. New boss Ron Sandler is expected to axe up to half of the bank’s 6,000 staff.

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