The big news this week has been about the National Staff Dismissal Register (NSDR), set to be launched later this month. It is basically a database of all employees who have been dismissed or have left employment whilst under investigation for acts of dishonesty toward the company. Major companies such as Harrods, HMV, Selfridges, Reed Managed Services and Mothercare are all backing the initiative.

The NSDR will allow employers to search the database to check whether potential employees have faced allegations of stealing, forgery, fraud, damaging company property or causing a loss to their employers and suppliers. It is being implemented by Action Against Business Crime, which is a partnership between the Home Office and the British Retail Consortium, and came about as a means to tackle the average annual loss to business of £497 million through staff theft and fraud.

But what is actually quite worrying about this is that an employee does not have to have a criminal conviction to appear on the register. What happens if a person appears on the database who has been accused of theft, but it hasn't been completely proved, and then this potentially innocent person becomes instantly unemployable?

Over on the BBC News website, a policy officer at the TUC makes a significant comment about a potential flaw in this initiative by saying that the register could lead to people being excluded from the job market by an employer who falsely accuses them of misconduct or sacks them because they bear them a grudge. A good point.

This is a government-backed scheme that seems to have started as a good idea in principle, but may not have really been thought out properly. There is a good discussion about this over on HRZone's sister website, UK Business Forums, so have a look at that, and let me know your thoughts.

Lucie Benson