Why government and business respect CIPD

Paul Kearns is clearly no fan of the
CIPD (Comment, 13 March 2001). According to him, the institute lacks the
respect of government and business. It disregards its customers. Its
professional qualification has dubious value. It is “a sleepy hollow”.
Objective, or what? Empty rhetoric, more like. And rhetoric that shows that Mr
Kearns is seriously out of touch.

He clearly isn’t aware of frequent
CIPD exchanges with ministers and senior civil servants. Of extensive CIPD
membership of government working groups on employment issues. Of Treasury
Minister Stephen Timms’ involvement in the institute’s research on management
education and corporate competitiveness. Margaret Hodge’s letter to the Times,
praising the CIPD’s policy and actions on age discrimination, escaped his attention.
A picture of “little respect”, or one of Mr Kearns’ lack of knowledge?

Nor is there a lack of business
respect for the CIPD. Those of us running winning organisations welcome the
CIPD’s business-orientated approach. Its research programmes are a good example.
A key criterion for a good profession is a strong knowledge base that secures
its policy positions. The institute’s groundbreaking research on the positive
impact of effective people management and development on business performance
is one of a number of real-world contributions to business needs.

Moreover, the CIPD networks of
practitioner advisory panels run research seminars and business-based project
steering groups. Its member-led branches contribute to professional knowledge
and practice, public policy and members’ learning. Around the world, the CIPD
is admired for its professional standards, research and member services.

Mr Kearns’ criticisms of the
professional qualification simply do not stack up. The recently reviewed
qualification scheme standards articulate what it takes to be a “thinking
performer”. They are about business management, not textbook approaches. That
is what we in business want from value-contributing specialists who are
expected to build their careers progressively as strategic business partners.
We will develop their business acumen – the qualification is their starting

The CIPD qualification is popular
among employers, those entering specialist careers, and non-specialists too.
Those who are CIPD qualified earn more on average than those who are not.

CIPD members are equal with other
professionals in developing their careers in competitive and demanding
circumstances. But Mr Kearns has long been a critic of the CIPD and his mind
appears to be made up.

Those of us in business think the
CIPD is more alert and relevant to our interests and needs than he realises. It
is a well-led, progressive institute of which we should be proud. Semi-detached
critics on the sidelines cannot undermine what the CIPD and its members are

By Bob Morton, head of HRD, CIBA
Speciality Chemicals and past CIPD vice-president, international

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