Car workers to take their demonstration to Europe

first_imgCar workers to take their demonstration to EuropeOn 23 Jan 2001 in Personnel Today Previous Article Next Article Vauxhall workers in Luton planned to demonstrate on Saturdayagainst General Motor’s decision to cease car production at the plant nextyear. The demonstration was part of a coordinated day of actionacross GM’s European plants. As Personnel Today went to press, unions anticipated 6,000people would turn up, including workers, local residents, MPs and otherrepresentatives from the British car industry. On Thursday, a delegation of Luton workers and theirrepresentatives will be in Zurich to demonstrate during the meeting of GMEurope with the European Works Council Manufacturing Committee. The T&Gbelieves the meeting is to discuss whether GM Europe breached European rules onemployee consultation. Comments are closed. Related posts:No related photos.last_img read more

See you in court

first_imgSee you in courtOn 1 May 2001 in Personnel Today Comments are closed. OH professionals may well be called as witnesses in employment tribunals.Make sure you are well prepared and do not be fooled by their apparentinformality.  By Linda Goldman and JoanLewis Employment tribunals were created in 1964, originally to hear appealsagainst certain expenses imposed by statutory bodies during industrialtraining. Their functions quickly grew to provide rapid, inexpensive andinformal access to justice in disputes about employment legislation. The overwhelming number of current cases means that rapidity is notnecessarily achieved. Many claims have little substance and some defences aredoomed to fail, so new rules (already in existence in Scotland) are planned toincrease the amount of costs that tribunals can award against unmeritoriousparties. Informality exists in comparison with civil and criminal courts butrepresentation is the norm, whether by a barrister, solicitor, consultant orfriend (paid or otherwise). Witnesses give evidence on oath or affirm but allparties remain seated during the proceedings. Employment tribunals are courts at the lower end of the judicial spectrum.They consist of a chairman who is a solicitor or a barrister and two laymembers with experience from management and shop floor sides of industry,respectively. Their main jurisdiction is in connection with employment disputes arisingout of allegations by individual applicants against their employer, the respondent.The applicant may be an employee but temporary workers can bring complaintsunder discrimination law and breaches of regulations. The ceiling on claims for unfair dismissal is £51,700 at present. Breach ofcontract claims arising on termination of employment are limited to £25,000.Discrimination claims are unlimited in value. Eligibility Many applicants do not require a qualifying period of employment to go tothe employment tribunal as it is discriminatory to reject a job candidate onthe grounds of race, sex or disability. Acts of discrimination or breaches ofstatutory requirements give rise to an instant qualification for employmentprotection and compensation. These claims also qualify people for awards forhurt feelings. Unfair dismissal claims depend on employees having completed 12months’ qualifying service. The role of OH personnel Occupational health personnel or employers are liable to be involved inmatters relating to the termination of employment and therefore bring or defenda claim for unfair dismissal. They may also be required to attend as witnessesto give evidence about fair procedure in ill-health dismissals, disability orhealth and safety cases. Increasingly, nurses or doctors are witness both to fact, saying whatactually happened; and/or as experts giving an opinion as to whether procedureswere adequate. In the latter instance, in a disability discrimination claim,for example, the tribunal may need to hear why a person was considered unfit todo a particular job and why reasonable adjustments could not have been madefrom the medical point of view. Appeals The losing party may appeal to the Employment Appeal Tribunal provided thereis strong argument that the decision is wrong in law, perverse on the facts orperhaps biased in favour of one side. The EAT’s filter system only allows casesto proceed where the appellant can put forward a strong legal argument (whichis not necessarily the same as having any prospect of success). Furtherchallenges can be mounted to the Court of Appeal or House of Lords if animportant point of law is involved. An appeal may result in a case beingreferred back to a differently constituted employment tribunal to deal with thecase or one aspect of it anew. Employment tribunals also hear appeals against non-discrimination noticesfrom the Equal Opportunities Commission and the Commission for Racial Equality,to be extended to Disability Rights. Occupational health personnel may beinvolved in the further appeal function of employment tribunals in respect ofimprovement or prohibition notices issued by the Health and Safety or LocalAuthority Inspectorate. Deadlines are strictly enforced Applicants who do not comply with strict time limits for claiming will getnothing unless they can sue a representative for negligently missing adeadline. Time limits vary according to the type of case and should beconsidered urgently. This is useful advice for employers, who can begin aninvestigation that might avert proceedings, and for employees who can amassevidence and assess their prospects of success. Unfair dismissal has a strict time limit of three months. So, a person whoseemployment terminated on 1 May 2001 must ensure that an application is receivedby the tribunal by 31 August 2001 unless it was not reasonably practicable todo so. An earthquake or other catastrophic event might prevent adherence to thetime limit, for instance. Awards are subject to deductions for contributory conduct on the part ofapplicants. They require the dismissed or otherwise offended persons to haveattempted to mitigate their loss and will be made, in respect of loss ofearnings, for such a period as is just and equitable. Concise and relevant evidence Whereas professional representation often shortens proceedings,unrepresented applicants have usually had a few months of obsessive involvementwith their cases, reliving and reciting in hugely unedited form the content oftheir witness statements, including details of their cases which are, alas,peripheral to the decision which the tribunal has to make. The tribunal is nota psychotherapy session, nor is it an organ of vengeance. It will deal justlywith the complaint presented to it, determine the issues and consider whether areasonable employer would have acted in the way the respondent employer did. Itwill be helped by concise and relevant evidence. In carrying out its functions, the tribunal expects the truth, the wholetruth and nothing but the truth. From time to time, the truth hurts but thatshould have been established earlier. Cases are now prepared to strict timetables which include the parties disclosingdocuments to one another well in advance of the hearing and exchanging witnessstatements. There are no film-style surprises in employment tribunals. Eachparty is well prepared to challenge each other’s evidence but that challengeshould not be by bending the truth. Liars need not only long memories but goodones and need to share those memories with others of like minds. Which bringsus from the realms of perjury to conspiracy and, perhaps, another article sometime in the future about life behind bars. Linda Goldman is a barrister at the civil chambers of Bernard Pearl,Lincoln’s Inn. She is head of training and education for ACT Associates &Virtual Personnel. Joan Lewis is the senior consultant and director of ACT Associates and VirtualPersonnel Case round-upOH personnel as expert witnessesForth Ports Authority v Lorimer [1992], Court of Session, IDS Brief 625(1998), p14 L explained that he had a drink problem when he was found, in breach ofcompany rules, to be under the influence of alcohol while driving a crane. Ftelephoned L’s GP who said that L was depressed but did not have a drinkproblem. L was dismissed. The EAT upheld the tribunal’s finding that theemployer should not have dismissed L without obtaining a medical report. TheCourt of Session said that the main consideration was whether L was under theinfluence of alcohol. Details of the depressive illness were not of materialsignificance in assessing the misconduct, “the essence of which was knownand undisputed”. The employer was not under a duty to investigate further.OH personnel and health and safety dutiesHealey v Excel Logistics, EAT 20 May 1998, IDS Brief 622, p5 A health and safety representative is protected from unfair dismissalarising out of health and safety matters even if employed for less than 12months. He/she is therefore currently entitled to a minimum basic award of£7,200 if successful. Here, H was employed from 1995 and became health andsafety representative in 1996. H was concerned about an entry in the accident book of a supermarket where acolleague had been injured when making a delivery. He made several approachesto management of the supermarket about the accident report. His employer deemedthat to be gross misconduct and he was dismissed within a year ofemployment.  The tribunal held that H had gone on a clandestine mission that did not fallwithin the Safety Representatives and Safety Committees Regulations 1997because the supermarket was not under the control of his employer. EAT saidthat the tribunal had failed to consider that the inspection was carried outunder Regulation 4(1)(a), enabling a health and safety representative toinvestigate potential hazards in the workplace. There was nothing to supportthe “clandestine mission” set out by the tribunal and there wasnothing in the Regulations which indicated that the representative needed thepermission of the employer to inspect the accident book. The dismissal was therefore automatically unfair as he was dismissed becausehe was investigating the cause of accidents in the workplace.OH input and disability discrimination Leonard v Southern Derbyshire Chamber of Commerce, 2001, IRLR 19L suffered clinical depression for which she took medication from 1995 andwhich was exacerbated in 1997 after she was raped. She went on sick leave inMarch 1998 but her condition worsened following her brother’s death in August1998 and by her dismissal in October 1998, which she claimed was unfair byreason of disability discrimination. The agreed medical evidence was the GP report stating she had a long-termmental impairment. In determining whether the impairment had a substantialeffect on her normal day-to-day activities, the tribunal considered theGuidance and found that, taking each heading of affected activities as a whole,there was no substantial effect. They were impressed that she was managing to cope. EAT said that theapproach was to focus on what the applicant could not do, rather than what shecould do, referring to Paragraph C6 and 7 of the Guidance, indicating that animpairment may indirectly affect abilities under the set headings. The tribunalwas entitled to take account of her abilities but should not have done so atthe expense of her disabilities. It had not taken account of the fact that shehad not been able to work since 1998 and her coping strategies had failed. The EAT decided that the applicant was disabled within the meaning of theAct. The case is therefore remitted to the tribunal for determination ofwhether the applicant was dismissed by reason of her disability and whether anyreasonable adjustment could have been made to avert the dismissal. Previous Article Next Article Related posts:No related photos.last_img read more

Insurer opts for bespoke customer programmes

first_img Comments are closed. Leading UK insurer Royal & SunAlliance (R&SA) has commissionede-learning provider BlueU to design and deliver three bespoke customerrelationship management (CRM) programmes. Over 2,500 R&SA staff will undertake up to 35 hours of e-learning thisyear as the organisation bids to ensure that it delivers a quality service toits customers. The first CRM module focuses on communication skills, the second programmeexplores the rationale behind CRM at R&SA and the third aims to educateusers on R&SA’s single-view system. “Throughout the programmes, we will support our people with coachingand role-play exercises,” explained training manager Katherine Plant.”This way of learning is a change for our people and for our trainers. Weneed to explain to them how best to use e-learning and reassure them that itcomplements other methods of training delivery; it does not replace them.” Related posts:No related photos. Previous Article Next Article Insurer opts for bespoke customer programmesOn 1 Jul 2001 in Personnel Todaylast_img read more

In-house training reaps efficiency

first_imgIn-house training reaps efficiencyOn 7 Aug 2001 in Personnel Today Previous Article Next Article Related posts:No related photos. Employers who train their own staff perform consistently better than othertypes of provider, according to a report by the Training Standards Council. The survey of 492 companies shows that 46 per cent of the training gradesawarded to employers were good or outstanding, and only 11 per cent were lessthan satisfactory. These figures compare with averages of 34 per cent and 18 per cent,respectively, for other providers, including further education colleges, localauthorities and training consultancies. David Sherlock, chief inspector of the Adult Learning Inspectorate, whichreplaced the Train- ing Standards Council in April, said that there are severalreasons why employers are better at training. He said, “Employers have a long-term commitment to staff. They areoften ideally placed to do the work-based training and have the necessaryequipment.” But the research also highlights a decline in the quality of training in theUK workplace. More than half of the training organisations surveyed wereawarded at least one unsatisfactory grade at their first inspection in 2001 – a10 per cent rise on the previous year. Comments are closed. last_img read more

Room for improvement

first_img Previous Article Next Article Having been born in the second world war, developmentcentres have become stuck in a time warp, offering little of relevance intoday’s workplace. At least that is what some critics say. But they still holdenormous potential and HR teams can play a pivotal role in realising this,reports Nic Paton  The prosecution team is on its feet and the case against development centresis warming up. Development centres, once beloved of organisations that wantedto pinpoint their future leaders or simply stretch their middle managers, areaccused of failing their clients. Many, it is argued, are fine at the diagnostic stage, suggesting the skillsand strengths an individual should be taking forward on their return to theworkplace. But when it comes to follow-up – making sure employees develop asrecommended – they are leaving a lot to be desired. Key among critics is Colin Barnes, a director of Sapient Partners –specialist assessment and development consultancy – and former UK director ofconsultancy at rival SHL for seven years. He cites a number of problems. First, development centres have been a victimof their own success. Because they are an effective and useful diagnostic tool,firms often see that as their main benefit, forgetting that diagnosis is alwaysjust one part of a cure. As a result, they do not have the support structuresin place when an employee returns to the workplace and any initial enthusiasmfired up at the development centre quickly wanes. “A number of organisations have stopped using development centresbecause what they wanted was development rather than diagnosis,” Barnessays. Development centres can also overlook key psychological areas, such ashow to make people – both participants and managers – buy into the process inthe first place. Adding his weight to the list of charges is Barry Spence, chief executive ofspecialist HR consultancy Cubiks, who argues that, for the past 20 years,assessment centres and their development counterparts have been stuck in a timewarp. He views too many exercises as irrelevant and old-fashioned – for instance,managing a paper-based in-tray or running a meeting in the office. “Iprobably get two to three pieces of paper a day but 80 to 100 e-mails. Andmanagers do not have a large group of people at their beck and call. People aredispersed. “The technology being assessed is paper and the application iselectronic. Development centres have not caught up with working practices andare not that relevant. They do not operate as a springboard. “What I want to understand is how you can communicate and motivatepeople who you are in touch with rarely, or you have to communicate with themin a different format. I do not know of a single development centre that looksat that.” Assessment and development centres have been established fixtures on the HRlandscape for many years. Assessment centres grew out of the second world war,when they were invented in parallel by the US, British and German armies asmeans of identifying potential officers and military leaders. OSS, theforerunner of the CIA, also used assessment centres to help recruit spies. After the war, the Civil Service Selection Board was the first non-militaryorganisation to make use of an assessment centre function, and US telecomsgiant AT&T was the first commercial organisation to set up one in 1956. The centres began to evolve into assessment and development centres in theearly 1970s. Firms began to realise they could make better use of data they hadbeen collecting as part of the selection process to help with employeedevelopment. By the mid-1980s standalone “development centres” had surfaced.The most common name, however, is still “assessment and developmentcentre”, or a close variant, with the terms “assessment” and”development” often used interchangeably. Some are even now known as”succession centres”, just to confuse matters. This confusion over their role and name is an ongoing problem, says NigelPovah, managing director of HR consultancy Assessment & DevelopmentConsultants. “Just because a venue is called an assessment centre or adevelopment centre does not necessarily bestow upon it the credibilityassociated with these processes. They use the same methodology but theirpurposes are different,” he says. “Development centres are most vulnerable, if one is honest, with thefollow-up. People have to recognise that the development centre itself is thestart of the process. An assessment centre sits at the end of the process –picking the best candidate.” The HR department must therefore play a pivotal role in maximising the potentialof a development centre and, critically, this role must start well before theindividual has even been signed up to go. First, it is worth examining what theorganisation wants to get out of the function and, indeed, whether adevelopment centre is the right answer. Then there are issues such as ensuring senior management is “singingfrom the same hymn sheet” and is wholly supporting the process. Linemanagers must be brought into the process to allow the time, space and supportfor an employee to develop. And the employee must think through career goalsand expectations. “HR professionals have to talk to consultants who understanddevelopment centres. They need someone to guide them through what is a complexprocess,” says Povah. The best organisations at developing people are often those where theobservers and facilitators of the process have been through the systemthemselves, adds Barnes. This means the whole focus of the development processhas to change, he argues, to ensure the programme is focused on work-basedsimulations and working with peers. “Feedback from peers is more helpfulthan manager feedback, especially on their development points,” he says. At Sapient, immediately after a development point is flagged, there is acoaching session on that issue, then the individual undergoes the test againincorporating what they have learnt from the coaching session. This can be donefour or five times. Relevance and validity are the watchwords for any good development centre,says Roger Austin, commercial director at SHL. This means, again, that the HRdepartment has a critical role to play in moulding the development centre sothat it best meets the needs of the organisation. “In the early days, people thought the process was self-evident so thecontent did not matter. But you have to design exercises so that theinformation you want is there,” he says. “It is all about getting the individuals and the organisation to agreethat the profile of strengths and development needs is an accurate one when putagainst the competency model. If you have brought in 360-degree assessment andit correlates, it will be much more difficult to reject.” Such feedback – which enables individuals, peers, senior managers andsubordinates to see how they handle particular aspects of their job – can be avery useful tool in making development centres work, says Cubiks’ Spence. “You do not have to reinvent the wheel. You simply need to feed thedevelopment centre output into the 360-degree feedback,” he says. Along with the changing face of workplace technology and the increasinglyrapid pace of management, development centres need to address the issue ofwork-life balance, Spence says. Firms need to know how a key manager copes withpressure and their thoughts on the balance between wealth and personal life.”More organisations are recognising that they do not want burn-out fortheir top people. If they can assist those partners in balancing their livesthey can prolong the active life of the partners within the organisation,”he adds. Half-day reviews every six months or even an office “buddy” schemecan all help, adds Sarah Macpherson, senior consultant at business psychologyfirm CGR. “If you can give people realistic goals that they can test and committo they will be fired up. You need to make sure that the plans cover long-termcareer goals and home life. It is also a good idea to identify a mentor to acton the development plan,” she says. It is up to the company and the HR department to make sure its fingers arenot burnt and its money wasted. Pre-work and pre-thought is common sense andcan help answer a lot of the questions to ensure that the right option ispicked. “If the organisation does not know much about it, it is at the mercy ofthe seller and the provider. If people think development centres are a blackbox – a magical process where its future leaders are going to be identified, itis probably not going to work for them,” says Angela Baron, adviser inemployee resourcing at the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development. “There is a myth that there are certain individuals and if you can onlyspot their importance it will be the be-all and end-all. But it is aboutnurturing talent and individuals.” Ultimately, with the right preparation, the prospect of returning to alonely vacuum where the development plan is left after a few days sitting inthe bottom drawer of the desk need not happen, sums up Sapient’s Barnes. “You need to start at the end and work your way back to the beginning.Start with your objective and work back from there,” he says.Map-maker takes a new directionThe next phase of Ordnance Survey’s plan to shake up its developmenttraining and processes will be launched in September. The government map-maker,working with HR consultancy Assessment & Development Consultants, isswitching from a process aimed primarily at developing middle managers to onedesigned to fast-track staff into senior positions.”What we are saying is, if you want to progress where do you need todevelop? In effect, we are doing a bit of talent-spotting,” explains JohnGreen, staff development manager at OS.The move is the culmination of a process that began in 1997. OrdnanceSurvey, with management drawn largely from the civil service, began to realiseit was operating in an increasingly commercial world where different managementimperatives – such as dealing with private customers – applied.The function operated initially through six centres, with about 45 seniormanagers going through it in the first year. This quickly developed into aprocess focused on middle managers, with about 10 events a year for eightpeople each time at a residential centre.Green admits that until then the agency had tended to concentrate ondeveloping people only when they were promoted and with little formalfollow-up. Now there is more a sense of finding out how effective people arewhen measured against the core competencies of OS.”It is about trying to make sure that development is part of theculture of the organisation,” he says.The key to success has been explaining to both participants and linemanagers what they should expect, why it is important and what will happen ontheir return. The participants need to be given a sense of ownership in theprocess to help motivate them back in the workplace, he says.Once completed, the assessor goes through the feedback with the participantand the line manager and they come to an agreement about strengths anddevelopment areas. An informal follow-up procedure, using OS assessors, hasalso been put in place.”We go back after six months or so and see what people are doing and howthey are developing,” says Green.The redesigned model, which will start as a pilot, will form more of a linkbetween participants and senior management. There will be four assessors – twofrom OS and two from A&DC. One of the assessors will be an OS director.”That is so that everyone can see that this is something that is reallyimportant, that there is a clear commitment from the top,” says Green.There will be tests on leadership, performance, interaction and other areas.Green adds that he expects about 50 people to go through the new three-day,£3,000-a-head programme in its first year.The process will be open to all the OS’ 1,900 staff, backed by their linemanager. “If you think you have the potential, you can put your nameforward,” Green says.”By putting people through development centres we think we have createda better development culture within the organisation. The feedback we have gotfrom most of the middle managers has been very positive. People have said,‘this is the best thing we have ever done’.” Related posts:No related photos. Room for improvementOn 7 Aug 2001 in Personnel Today Comments are closed. last_img read more

Who should break the bad news?

first_imgIn the first of a new column, Jenny Davenport advises choosing the messengerto suit the message It’s redundancy time again with organisations back in restructuring anddownsizing mode. It raises some particular challenges for internalcommunication. The issue organisations most often bungle is the choice of messenger. Surveyafter survey shows that line managers are the preferred and most crediblecommunicators for most topics with their teams. They can make the information relevant to their teams and people rarely feelconstrained about expressing their views in the safety of their own teammeetings. So with a good feedback system, the organisation can have a quicksense of people’s reactions. However, it is worth considering when line managers are not the rightmessengers. This can be when the information is outside their experience and they cannotadd value to it by explaining the relevance to the team, or reasonably answerquestions about it. This scenario might include for example major strategicchange. This sort of communication is best done by more senior managers and bywritten material which people can absorb at their leisure. The right time formanagers to be the channel for communication is when plans are beingcontemplated. Line managers are also not the most appropriate when decisions are beingcontemplated or communicated that are potentially worse news for managers thantheir teams. In one bad example, an organisation was centralising a service. It wasformerly provided by a number of regional departments, but surveys indicatedthat customers wanted a consistent service no matter where in the country theywere. Regional managers were to lose some of their responsibilities, but theywere the only losers. There would be no danger of job losses to their teams. It was indeed good news for some team members who were bearing the brunt ofdiscontented customers complaining about the variable service. The organisation had an excellent and well-established team-briefing system,which was used to communicate this change without really considering how themessage would be relayed by angry regional managers. There was uproar among their teams, with an inundation of furious feedbackforms and quite unnecessary indignation. The lesson learned was that when themessage is bad news for managers or team leaders, make sure a more seniormanager does the communicating. Jenny Davenport, director of People in Business Related posts:No related photos. Who should break the bad news?On 6 Nov 2001 in Personnel Today Previous Article Next Article Comments are closed. last_img read more

Haringey is rising to the e-government challenge

first_imgCase study: Tony Blair has called on all local government tobe prepared to offer its services online to the public 24-hours a day by 2005.Sue Weekes looks at how the borough of Haringey in coping with the e-governmentchallengeYou would have to be from another planet not to be aware that Prime MinisterTony Blair is keen for all UK citizens to be online by 2005. And being such a believer in electronic service delivery, Blair’s‘e-government’ challenge dem-ands that all local government is able to offerits services online to the public, 24 hours a day, within the same timeframe.Given that, historically, local authorities are not exactly trailblazers whenit comes to leading-edge technology, meeting the e-gov challenge can be easiersaid than done. Haringey, one of London’s 33 boroughs, is currently in what it calls ‘theblueprint stage’ of making the transition, which includes a major e-HRcomponent. But for Haringey the project is not just about installing new technology. Itis also about re-organising and re-engineering business processes to maximisetheir benefit and this will include fully integrating personnel and financefunctions. “Our aim is to streamline business processes, increase andimprove our management information capacity and improve our business unitmanagers’ accountability,” says head of personnel Stuart Young. “Itwill manage the back-room bureaucracy of the council.” Haringey’s approach serves as a model to any corporate engaged in a similarprocess. It has assembled a 30-strong team, including a project board thatcomprises the head of corporate finance, head of procurement and head of personnel,a number of project champions from various disciplines, project manager, achange management team, external consultants, as well as overall projectsponsor and director of finance Andrew Travers. “We have been keen to havethe best staff involved all along in the project,” says Young, explainingthat the project team sits in a completely different room away from thecouncil’s day-to-day business. “It has put pressure on those remaining but we know we needed toresource the project fully and have provided cover for those working onit,” he says. Playing a vital part in the team are consultants from Haringey’s appointedIT suppliers, Logica and Pecaso. The latter is a leader in e-HR technologiesand a major supplier and integrator of SAP systems across Europe. Pecaso isconcerned with the HR and payroll applications of the project and isimplementing a pre-configured template for local government based on experiencegained from work for Lincolnshire County Council, the London Borough ofSouthwark and Salford City Council. Based around mySAP, the system is already tailored to the specificrequirements of local authorities with appropriate organisational structures,local government pay scales and standard schemes for occupational sickness,maternity leave and car mileage built in. It will be further tailored forHaringey’s needs. The pre-configured solution reduces the burden and risk of new technology tothe borough, especially in complex areas like payroll. “It allows Haringey to focus the business processes side and changemanagement aspects,” says Tim Bradley, responsible for the project atPecaso. “We are pleased to be a part of the Government’s e-business initiative.There is no reason why the public sector should not be as leading edge asprivate companies and Haringey looks set to be among the first to reap thebenefits.” The system is due to go live at the end of the year. Finance and procurementwill go live first, followed by payroll. Members of Haringey’s workforce willbe able to access mySAP and will be able to use it for online procurement andsome self-service HR functions, such as booking holiday online and ultimatelyinputting personal details and choosing training options. Young is also keen to stress the performance management asp-ects of thesystem with managers able to use the management reporting tools to enable themto identify staff turnover and workflow in real time: “We are afinancially stable borough and have a performance agenda and this system willsit behind this agenda and drive it all.” Previous Article Next Article Comments are closed. Related posts:No related photos. Haringey is rising to the e-government challengeOn 7 May 2002 in Personnel Todaylast_img read more


first_img Previous Article Next Article Comments are closed. Thisweek’s lettersLong-hourspublic sector is a jokeSomethingraised a smile on my face today: Personnel Today’s article on ‘Tackling thedrivers of stress’ (News, 10 September). The bit that had me laughing, was thereference to the “long hours work culture” in the public sector. Juniordoctors apart, I doubt anyone in the public sector knows much about long hours.Ihad some direct experience of the public sector when I was temping as astudent. The hours were short and no one did very much. People working in thetyping pool typed two letters a day and spent the rest of the time sittingaround drinking tea and discussing what happened on Coronation Street. Despitethis, they were all on the verge of having nervous breakdowns because of theintroduction of performance-related pay. I can see why this made them stressed– they might actually  have had to dosome work for a change. Eventhe professional staff weren’t very impressive. I was told off for correctingthe abysmal grammar of the surveyors whose letters I was typing. Itis unsurprising that nobody with half a brain wants to work in the publicsector – everyone knows what a bunch of slow dullards the sector attracts.  AnonymousBitchVia e-mail Editor’scomment:Itis easy to criticise when you hide your identity. ‘Anonymous Bitch’ shouldidentify herself. If public sector HR professionals let us know what theythink, we could forward the mailbag to her. Codeof practice lacks experienceIread with astonishment the Information Commission’s Code of Practice regardingabsence records (News, 10 September). I have to ask whether anyone in thecommission has ever tried to manage a large workforce? Wehave to deal with some jobs that are particularly tedious or labour intensiveand as a result, sickness absence has to be managed very carefully.Itis not a question of penalising anyone for being off sick – knowing the reasonwhy someone is unwell allows us to look at health and safety issues when aparticular problem reoccurs. Trends can also be identified which oftenhighlight problems within the workplace.Thereare some people who seem to have a fear of paperwork and, in particular,signing anything formal. So the likelihood of obtaining the necessarypermissions of more than 5,000 staff will be incredibly hard to achieve.Ineed to take a week off to recover from this news – having first allowed mycolleagues to keep this information on file. JanetTeeceHR adviser, Torbay CouncilUSHR consortium is too unilateral Thedevelopment of XML standards to enable e-business in the HR community would bea welcome benefit to the HR software industry and their customers (Features, 10September).  However,we need to question the benefits of developing international formats for HRdata. The HR-XML Consortium is primarily a US-orientated organisation, with alimited presence in the UK and the rest of Europe. The several approved HRschemes currently available are only of real value to US-based firms. Internationalversions have not yet been developed due to difficulties with parallel HR dataacross countries, such as UK and US employment and benefits legislation. HRadministrators in the UK, for example, have little knowledge of 401ks or COBRA,nor would US HR administrators be familiar with P45s or P60s. TheHR-XML Consortiums’ vision of developing a non-language, non-legislativecommunication channel, non-cultural specific for high-volume HR transactions,may be unrealistic. Inthe UK, HR software providers have a multitude of emerging HR data formats toconsider such as e-GIF, British Standard formats and EDI/FBI for payroll. Webelieve companies must focus on these initiatives before considering HR-XML.  Tobecome a charter member of the Consortium, a company must pay $20,000 in thefirst year, with an annual fee of $7,500. The consortium may become an eliteclub that could start dictating which schemes should be used.PeterCollinsonCustomer services and product planning director, Midland Software LettersOn 24 Sep 2002 in Personnel Today Related posts:No related photos.last_img read more


first_imgRelated posts:No related photos. Comments are closed. BriefingOn 2 Jan 2003 in Personnel Today Previous Article Next Article A round-up of news from professional journalsSmallpox vaccine on offer to nurses Smallpox vaccination will be offered to nurses in the NHS and the armedforces as a precaution against possible terrorist attacks.  The move was confirmed recently in separatestatements by health minister John Hutton and defence minister Lewis Moonie.  The health service is to set up 12 smallpoxresponse groups across the UK. Nursing Standard 12 December 2002 MDA urged to end needle use The organisation that ensures medical devices are safe and appropriate mustpush for the introduction of needle-free equipment, according to a senior nursewho buys equipment for a large NHS trust. Action by the Medical Devices Agencycould dramatically reduce needlestick injuries to staff, said Ian Poxon,procurement specialist at the Nottingham Queen’s Medical Centre. Nursing Standard 2 December 2002 Cancer website launched A major cancer charity has launched an interactive website exclusively forhealth professionals. CancerBACUP has developed the service in consultationwith staff from the NHS cancer networks about the resources they need toimplement the cancer information strategy. Standard 2 December 2002 last_img read more

Countdown to red tape or opportunity for influence?

first_imgRelated posts:No related photos. Countdown to red tape or opportunity for influence?On 21 Jan 2003 in Personnel Today Previous Article Next Article Comments are closed. Theclock is counting down. The European Commission will decide later this yearwhether the UK’s opt-out from the Working Time Directive will be removed, andit is currently gathering evidence to inform its decision.   InDecember, Fernando Pereira, the commissioner in charge of the review, asked theEmployment Lawyers Association and Personnel Today to find out what employersin the UK think of the opt-out embodied in our working time regulations.Morethan 750 employers responded to our survey and the message for the commissionis very clear – eight out of 10 HR professionals do not want the opt-out to bescrapped.Thereare grave concerns over the potential impact on business costs andcompetitiveness, and two-thirds do not believe that full implementation of theregulations would promote the health and safety of workers – the law’s originalaim.  Despitethe strength of the evidence, there is no ducking the rumours emanating fromBrussels – the UK’s unique opt-out from the Working Time Directive is likely togo. Itis important to start planning for how its removal might affect your employmentpractices, and HR has to be involved in shaping any changes to the regulations,so they support rather than challenge our organisations. Manybusinesses have increasingly cyclical workflows, and we must ensure that the48-hour limit is averaged over 52 rather than 17 weeks. We also need a simplerdefinition of work and insight into how the regulations might operate. When istravel work, for example, and will we have to get staff to ‘clock in and out’?Ifwe start thinking about it now, it will enable us to bring change should theopt- out clause go, and give us the opportunity to develop positiveregulations. After all – as our coverage on pages 12-13 shows – we are notgoing to tackle the productivity gap with a long-hours work culture.  ByMike Broad, assistant editor of Personnel Todaylast_img read more