This week’s news in brief

Brum tops sick league
Birmingham is top of England’s sick-pay league, official figures have revealed. Figures from the Department for Work and Pensions showed that 54,500 people claim incapacity benefit and severe disablement allowance in the city, about 9% of the working age population. A total of 279m was paid in disability benefit in Birmingham in 2004.

Union’s M&S push
Retail union Usdaw has launched its Marks & Spencer recruitment campaign nationally, after doubling its membership at the high-street retailer in the past month. The campaign was launched in the North-West after it was reported that M&S, which does not recognise the union, intends to issue 66,000 new contracts to its workforce.

NHS recruitment survey
NHS Employers, the body representing employers in the health service, has carried out a recruitment and retention survey among HR directors across all primary care, acute and mental health trusts in England. The results will be used to help shape the national NHS recruitment strategy and highlight areas of work for the NHS Careers service. Results will be available online later this month.

HR’s key role in policing
HR can make a real difference to the effectiveness of policing in the UK, according to speakers at the fifth annual Police Forum, held by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD). Lord Richard Wilson, president of the CIPD, said: “The police service is under enormous pressure and HR is central to equipping staff and managers to drive and motivate staff.”

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