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Bad HR managers to be ‘named and shamed’ by institute

Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development to adopt tougher approach

It is vital that the CIPD demonstrates that its members are subject to a strong code of professional conduct, and that complaints are taken seriously

CIPD spokesman

Bad personnel managers will be ‘named and shamed’ under new rules by their own professional body.

Exaro can reveal that, from July, disciplinary panels at the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) will be able to publish the names and case details when they rule against members in complaints about professional misconduct.

The disciplinary move by the CIPD, which has 135,000 members among ‘human resources’ specialists, comes as workplaces suffer growing job insecurity. It is aimed at rooting out incompetent or unethical HR practices.

The professional body will also publish numbers of disciplinary investigations and their outcomes for the first time.

Decisions that could be made public include cases where someone is expelled from the CIPD or required to undergo additional training.

Robert Blevin, the CIPD’s head of external affairs, said that the potential naming of members who breached the body’s code of conduct was part of a “more robust” approach to disciplinary procedures.

“In the past, we have not put up flashing lights that a member has been expelled,” he said.

Explaining the changes, a CIPD spokesman added: “Public expectations of the behaviour of professionals are rising. It is vital that the CIPD demonstrates that its members are subject to a strong code of professional conduct, and that complaints are taken seriously.” The CIPD has been criticised previously for neither disclosing whether it was taking action nor publishing the results of disciplinary cases.

In 2008, it came under fire for its reluctance to take action against a member named as a British National Party activist, despite the CIPD’s formal opposition to discrimination in employment.

The CIPD does not have the power to stop HR executives working, and membership is not compulsory among practitioners.

However, it estimates that half the UK’s HR executives are members, so being “named and shamed” – especially if also expelled from the CIPD – is bound to be damaging for that person’s career in HR.

Cary Cooper, professor of organisational psychology and health at the Lancaster University, said: “CIPD membership is not a ‘nice to have’. Most companies of any size and public-sector positions require it.”

Increased workplace friction in today’s difficult economic environment could prompt more complaints about HR employees, he added.

“There are more ‘people’ problems, more performance problems, more bullying issues. And stress-related illness has increased massively. Line-managers are forcing staff to do more, and HR is caught in the maelstrom.”

The CIPD’s move also comes as a government-commissioned report by Adrian Beecroft, the venture capitalist, has proposed to make it easier to sack staff through so-called “no-fault dismissals”.

Blevin said that the CIPD has seen a “slight increase” recently in complaints about its members, with 40 cases last year compared with 30 for the previous period.

The CIPD has used expulsion as a sanction, he confirmed, but declined to give details.

Cooper also warned that unions might threaten to complain to the CIPD about HR executives to take advantage of their fears of being “named and shamed”.

But the Trades Union Congress, said a spokesman, hoped that “poor HR directors would be dealt with by their employers.”

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