Skills supremo denies redundancy rumours in run-up to launch of commission

The UK’s new skills chief has denied that staff at the much-heralded skills commission have been forced to take redundancy in the run up to its launch next week.

The UK Commission for Employment and Skills (CES) will launch on 1 April, merging non-departmental advisory body the National Employment Panel (NEP) and the Sector Skills Development Agency (SSDA), which previously delivered skills funding through the sector skills councils.

CES aims to simplify the UK skills system, advising ministers on strategy to meet the targets of the Leitch Review.

But an industry insider told Personnel Today: “Workers without a job are being forced to sign compromise agreements before they are given redundancy pay. This is not a good start.”

The source also accused the commission of failing to adhere to TUPE-equivalent rules, which protect workers’ terms and conditions during transfers.

CES chief executive Chris Humphries categorically denied any members of staff had been forced to take ‘voluntary’ redundancy and stressed TUPE training was available to employees throughout.

“We do not currently anticipate that any permanent member of SSDA staff who expressed a wish to remain in employment will be without a job,” he said.

Two-thirds of the 90 staff from the SSDA will transfer to the new commission. Twenty people will take voluntary redundancy and the remaining 10 have been re-deployed to other organisations. Humphries said the NEP did not employ permanent members of staff.

“Staff and staff representatives have been fully consulted at every stage,” he added.

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