When new CIPD president Don Beattie recently invited the Chancellor Gordon Brown to consider the institute’s research when he developed his policies to boost UK productivity, Personnel Today responded by saying that the institute should go further. We suggested the CIPD should re-style itself as an organisation with a political remit, and now a straw poll of personnel practitioners suggests grassroots personnel professionals feel the profession needs a political voice.
Take the issue of bad employment law. Nobody understands better than HR managers the damage done by badly implemented employment laws. Surely it makes sense for representatives of the profession to advise government departments when the regulations are drafted, if not before. Apart from this, there is a clear need for HR professionals to put the arguments to ministers about how good personnel practices are a better way to create flexibility in companies than rigid regulations.
Another burning issue is the need for employers to invest in staff. After a decade of initiatives to boost training the last report of Nacett, the body set up to monitor training targets, concluded that only one in five adults in England is educated to a reasonable standard.
To say it is not worth lobbying the Government on issues such as these at a national level is to imply that these issues are not important enough, or that the profession does not have the authority to exert any real influence.
If that is what the CIPD believes, it is probably right to leave politics to the likes of the TUC and the CBI.