Paul Kearns

Debate gets very sterile when it is detached from the real world, warns Paul Kearns. To inject a harsh dose of realism to the debate about what can happen when HR teams do not follow the sort of principles enshrined in the HR Charter, he examines recent attempts to encourage diversity at Hertfordshire Constabulary.

Charter – Item 1. To what extent is this activity strategic? ‘Welcoming diversity’ might be a core value but what value is it to society? Does Hertfordshire Constabulary actually have a measurable, strategic objective to be more diverse? If so, what does it look like and how does this fit with their other strategic objectives?

Item 2 – how is diversity going to add value? Will increased diversity have a direct and beneficial impact on crime or the fear of crime?

Item 3 – where is the line of sight between diversity and crime figures (or any other objective)?

Item 4. – How will the HR team report – the article refers to an evaluation report being produced but what criteria will they use to evaluate it?

Item 5. – Does anyone know whether this approach has worked anywhere else? Or is this just a huge experiment? If it is then why not produce some results from a pilot group first?

Item 6. – How professional are those involved? Do the consultants really believe you can change attitudes on diversity? What theory in psychology says that you can change somebody’s attitudes at all, never mind as a result of attending a very short, probably one-off training programme?

Item 7. – They are already willing to share but do we want what they have to share?

Item 8. Where did the original need for this training emanate from? Did the McPherson report really suggest that the answer to the problems in the Police could be resolved through a bit of training? Did McPherson or anyone else say that Hertfordshire had the same problem as all other police forces?

Item 9 – Are resources being used efficiently? Why did 3,200 staff have to be trained? Who said they all had the same, generic training need? Sheep dip training is usually totally unfocused and a serious waste of resources. More importantly, if there are a small group of people in the police with serious attitudinal problems what is being done to specifically deal with them?

Item 10. – Will the HR team really learn from this whole exercise? If so what and how will it improve their own professional development?

How many other HR teams in other police forces are doing similar things or are they all experimenting? What is the total cost of resources being thrown at this problem in the 43 police forces around the country? More importantly, if you know a better way to deal with diversity issues – why not contribute some ideas.

Have your say – simply click on ‘add comments’ below.

New HR Charter series
You can also read all the debates around the New HR Charter and add your own comments by clicking on the links below.

The New HR Charter – Introduction

The New HR Charter Part 1 – Does HR have a reputation problem?

The New HR Charter Part 2 – What does best practice mean in HR?

The New HR Charter: Part 3 – Do competencies and 360 work?