Transport is a big deal in New Deal

• Your news article “Transport stops New Dealers in their tracks” (Personnel Today, 30 May) alleges that the New Deal fails to support clients in terms of travel costs so they are forced out of jobs in London.

In fact, contrary to your report, this Government has placed emphasis on mobility as a key to employability and job search, and our success in working with transport bodies to establish efficient arrangements to support New Dealers.

New Deal clients have benefited from travel subsidies which allow them to purchase travel tickets at a reduced rate of up to 80 per cent off a normal fare.

The Government renewed its contract with the Association of Train Operating Companies to subsidise travel for a further two years only last month.

Each client is issued with a photocard. This allows them to travel to interviews at a reduced cost, and it can also be used while a client is on one of the four options, including employment.

More than 55,000 New Deal photocards have been issued so far. This includes clients who start a job under the New Deal Employment Option.

The New Deal has been extremely successful in finding jobs for Londoners. By the end of March 2000 alone, 26,000 people had gone into employment.

The Government and Employment Service are working hard to ensure New Deal clients are not hampered by transport costs.

We are listening and working closely with partners and employers, and are determined to make sure that it does not prove an obstacle for people looking for work.

Rt Hon Tessa Jowell MP

Minister of State for Employment, Equal Opportunities and Welfare to Work

letter of the week

Culture of blame wrong way to go

• The article by Paul Kearns really touched a nerve with me (Personnel Today, 6 June). For a long time now I have wondered how much value HR professionals add when many of the people we work with pay lip service to best practice until it makes their lives difficult.

However, blaming people who do not match our expectations is pretty futile. In my experience, the reason for poor performance is often due to an organisational culture which either doesn’t support good management or does nothing about ineffective managers other than simply to moan about them.

Perhaps HR professionals should concentrate on enabling people to become more self-aware rather than blaming them for being ineffective.

Janet Taylor

Human resources director

Manx Telecom

Clarity on union recognition rules

• I was impressed by your coverage of the Central Arbitration Committee’s new role in statutory trade union recognition. But the criteria needs to be clarified.

You refer to “automatic recognition if 50 per cent of the workforce are members or if 40 per cent vote for recognition in a ballot” (Personnel Today, 6 June). In fact, the CAC may confirm recognition if there is more than 50 per cent membership in the bargaining unit, but only if it does not see a need for a ballot to be held.

In a ballot, union recognition results if over 50 per cent of the voters and at least 40 per cent of those in the bargaining unit are in favour.

Callum Johnston

Secretary, CAC

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