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PMD should spearhead election debate

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People management and development should be at the forefront of the pre-election contest.

The call comes from professional body the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) who say that labour market realities have catapulted ‘people’ issues onto the political agenda.

Ministers, senior civil servants and politicians of all parties were sent a Public Policy Agenda by the CIPD yesterday.

The document includes calls to:

* Avoid rigid quotas on immigration to avoid placing increased pressure on a tight jobs market, in which many employers across the public and private sectors are struggling to recruit suitable people to fill vacancies.
* Implement policies that encourage greater take up of flexible working, in order to attract more people back in to work and to take the pressure off the jobs market. These should include measures to tackle low take-up of paternity leave provisions, which CIPD research shows is a result of the low rate of paternity pay.
* Ensure swift action is taken to reform incapacity benefits and eliminate barriers preventing economically inactive people from filling job vacancies.
* Abolish mandatory retirement ages in order to enable employers to recruit and retain talent free from unnecessary barriers to the employment of older workers, and to begin to tackle the cultural problem of age discrimination in the workplace. This is particularly important given the current difficulties in UK pensions.
* Recognise that public sector reforms will not deliver the efficiency and service improvements desired unless staff are fully engaged in the process of change, and are empowered, enabled and energised to deliver.

Duncan Brown, CIPD Assistant Director General says that people management and development lies at the heart of many key political and economic issues as the election approaches:

“We’ve known for the best part of a century that well managed workplaces with high levels of employee involvement and motivation are the most successful and high performing. Yet large numbers of UK employers continue to ignore this. Our research shows that government cannot impose a single management model through legislation to address this deficit.

“The role of government has to be to set a minimum standard and encourage the widespread use of high performance working practices such as flexible working and employee involvement and engagement. Specific policies have to be tailored to the needs and character of individual employers and their workforces, and cannot be imposed on a one-size-fits-all basis.”

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Annie Hayes

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