first_imgRed tape hits local authority moraleOn 2 Oct 2001 in Personnel Today Local government HR chiefs back claims by the union GMB that theGovernment’s Best Value reforms have demoralised local government managers. A GMB poll of senior public service staff reveals that most are unhappy withBest Value reforms with many believing they have led to a lack of resourcesthat have hit staff and services. Keith Handley, Socpo president, said managers are suffering under theincreased red tape generated by the Best Value reforms. “Best Value has certainly led to a demoralised management in localgovernment who are almost collapsing under initiative fatigue and inspectionregimes. “The concept of Best Value still holds good but if central Governmentreally want to drive up service improvements they must come up with a lessbureaucratic process. “Indeed part of the problem is that managers don’t have enough time todeal with front line services – their new front line is the inspectionregime.” The survey of 80 staff from a wide cross-section of public servicesincluding housing, social services and education shows that almost 70 per centexpressed dissatisfaction over Best Value reforms and the negative effect theyhave had on their jobs. Three-quarters of senior public service employees surveyed have consideredleaving their jobs in the last year because of increased pressure and stress, alack of resources and a lack of control and influence. A spokeswoman for the DETR said the Audit Commission’s recently publishedreport Changing Gear confirms that Best Value is delivering real improvementsfor service users. By Lisa Bratby Related posts:No related photos. Comments are closed. Previous Article Next Articlelast_img read more

first_imgRelated posts:No related photos. Previous Article Next Article Comments are closed. In on the act: Tupe legislationOn 9 Oct 2001 in Personnel Today Our continuing series of quickguides to major employment legislation, which puts key information at yourfingertips and brings you up to date with the latest developments. This weekSarah Lamont, partner at Bevan Ashford, Bristol, looks at the notorious Tupelegislation and the areas within it which are still causing headaches foremployers and lawyers alike. As she explains, the Government’s proposedamendments to Tupe could help address some of the ongoing issuesOneof the most notorious pieces of employment legislation has to be the Transferof Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations 1981 or”Tupe”, as it is known. Tupe was enacted in the UK, with markedreluctance by the Government at the time, to implement the Acquired Rightsdirective, the European legislation on which it is based. Perhaps it is becausethe regulations were introduced at the eleventh hour that it has caused –  and still causes – so much difficulty ininterpretation, or perhaps it is because their application in practice is somuch wider than originally envisaged.  Whatever the reason,there are still a number of areas within Tupe which cause employers and lawyersheadaches. So it has been with interest that the Government’s proposedamendments to the regulations have been awaited and, at last, the Governmenthas issued its consultation paper. This article looks how the proposals mayhelp to address some of the issues within Tupe.  Scope of theregulationsThis is the mostextensively debated and litigated aspect of Tupe. To combat this the Governmentproposes to adopt a definition of a transfer of an undertaking which is, forthe first time, set out in the Acquired Rights directive, which was amended in1998. But also, recognising that this may not be a complete answer, it proposesmeasures in the context of transfers within public administration and wherethere is a change in the service provider in “contracting out” or”outsourcing”.  In the former case theCabinet Office Statement of Practice “Staff Transfers in the PublicSector” (January 2000) will be applied (which in effect encourages partiesto act in accordance with Tupe even where it is not clear it would apply as amatter of law). In the latter case, the Government wishes to consult on whetherand how the regulations should be amended to ensure that changes in serviceprovision are covered.  Occupational pensionsCurrently, even whenTupe applies, an employee is not entitled to the transfer of any pre-existingright to continue active membership of an occupational pension scheme. For public-sectorstaff transferring to the private sector, the Government has for some timetaken the view that such employees should continue to have pension provisionmade for them. Central guidance togovernment departments and local authorities states that the transfereeemployer is generally required to offer transferred employees an occupationalpension scheme which is “broadly comparable” to that afforded by thepublic-sector transferor.  Obviously,however, this has not affected transfers of employees in the private sector.  The Governmentsuggested two approaches: either preserving the current public-sector policy orby amending Tupe to provide some protection for occupational pension rights forboth public- and private-sector staff. The aim is to “strike a balancebetween protecting transferred employees and minimising extra burdens onprivate-sector employers” and it has outlined options for providing alevel of protection through Tupe which are set out in a background paper whichaccompanies the consultation paper. Transfer-connecteddismissalsThere has been someconfusion as to the inter-relationship between regulation 8(1), which makes adismissal automatically unfair where it is connected with a transfer, andregulation 8(2) which provides an exception from this general rule where thereis an “economic, technical or organisational reason entailing changes inthe workforce” (ETO), for the dismissal. Where there is an ETO, the dismissalcan be fair, if the employer has acted reasonably.Some cases suggestedthat regulation 8(1) and regulation 8(2) are mutually exclusive, so that iftransfer is the reason or principal reason for the dismissal, it is notpossible to look then to see whether regulation 8(2) also applied – ie, whetherthere was an ETO justifying the dismissal. The proposal is to clarify thatthese regulations are not mutually exclusive; ETO reasons are a subset ofreasons for a dismissal connected with the transfer. Changes to contractsAnother live issue hasbeen the extent to which changes can be made to the terms and conditions ofemployees affected by a transfer, even where the employee agrees to thechanges.  Again, case law has suggestedthat any such changes are invalid and therefore not binding on the employee whohas purported to agree them. This has caused uncertainty for transferee staffin particular. The Governmentproposes to make it clear that Tupe does not preclude transfer-related changesto terms and conditions where the reason for making the changes is an”economic, technical or organisational reason entailing changes in theworkforce”. But while this comfort is to be welcomed, it may not prove tobe a cure for all ills in the context of changing terms and conditions becauseof the requirement that an ETO must “entail changes to theworkforce”. Case law on ETOs has shown that this will not coverharmonisation of terms and conditions, for example.Toview the proposals, go to: read more

first_img Comments are closed. The Government is circulating advice on the dangers of deep vein thrombosisto regular travellers. Advice outlining the risks of the condition, its symptoms and what can bedone to prevent it has been made available through NHS Direct, the Internet, andhealth services, says the Department of Health. In particular, it outlines the type of in-flight exercises passengers can doto avoid developing the blood clotting condition, which can occur when peopleare immobile for long periods of time. Deputy chief medical officer Dr Pat Troop said, “Although furtherresearch needs to be carried out into the links between DVT and long distancetravel, we have issued the most up-to-date information and advice to theairlines and public about minimising the risk of DVT during longjourneys.” It recommends that those who have had a DVT or pulmonary embolism obtainmedical advice before they travel. People with a family history of clotting conditions, with thrombophilia orcancer, those who have undergone major surgery in the three months prior totravelling and anyone who has suffered a stroke are also advised to seekadvice. DVT is also more common in women who are pregnant, have recently had a baby,are taking the contraceptive pill or are on hormone replacement therapy. Women with any of these conditions should also seek advice from theircommunity pharmacist, antenatal team or health visitor before flying, says theDepartment of Health. Health service issues DVT advice to publicOn 1 Jan 2002 in Personnel Today Related posts:No related photos. Previous Article Next Articlelast_img read more

first_imgDon Campbell argues that it is high time companies rejectedthe idea of leadership being exclusive to the top end of an organisationThere has been talk and editorial on the knotty subject of leadership incountless journals and boardrooms on both sides of the Atlantic for years. Andyet, the need for more dialogue on the subject never wanes. With constant changes occurring in the dynamics of the typical workplace,the playing field never stays level for long. Women assume ever-greatersignificance at all levels in the workplace, economies boom and bust,technologies spawn new industries and skills, mergers and acquisitions prevailover erstwhile-established teams – the world is ever-changing. Consequently, the ‘rules’ and best practices of leadership are constantlyfalling under the latest business-school and journalistic scrutiny.Muchevidence points to organisations failing to embrace the true concept ofeffective leadership – to nurture and harness their talents so that thecollective attributes of a team can be developed to an organisation’s maximumpotential. But what exactly do we mean by leadership? The most common misconception is that leadership is exclusive to the seniorranks of an organisation. People at the top often find themselves under firefor not displaying the types of qualities traditionally associated withleadership. But any ‘failure’ invariably has more to do with excessive reliance on thoseat the top, and insufficient mettle and leadership elsewhere in theorganisation – where leadership counts most on a day-to-day basis. Leadership is as much about personal influence as it is about command andcontrol, and therefore as much an upwards and sideways process as it is adownward one. Drive and guidance from the top is essential, but unless this isreflected throughout an organisation, even the most inspirational top-downideas will have little chance of success. Broader definition Leadership requires a broader definition than the capacity to persuadeothers to follow your command. It is more about the ability to influence, guideand direct those around us with honesty, integrity, sensitivity and courage –regardless of business or social setting. Unless a person knows and takes to heart the real impact of their own innatebehaviour on others – a short fuse for example, or indeed an excessively longone – the capacity to moderate or adapt behaviour in the interest of effectiveinfluence becomes all the more difficult. Examining the culture of leadershipin more detail, it is necessary to look closely at the three directions ofleadership and the personal qualities each requires. With downward leadership, the ability to motivate, inspire and focus isinvaluable. The crux of sideways leadership is to be effective, and the abilityto influence peers through credibility and personal power is imperative. A successful combination of talent, ability and personality is the best wayof achieving sideways influence. Upwards leadership Upwards leadership works when senior managers possess the truth of asituation, rather than information used to help everybody to feel better ormake life easier for them or employees. This takes courage and sensitivity andan appreciation of what it is like to be in the other person’s position. Good upward leadership involves taking the pressure off managers and helpingto make their sometimes-difficult decisions easier. Everyone, regardless oftheir level, has the capacity and the responsibility to lead. The key is tounlock that potential. This is where effective leadership development courses can make all thedifference. During the course of a few days, preconceptions are challenged, and actions,behaviour and attitudes questioned. This will provide delegates with a solidfoundation to learn and move forward from as confident, competent leaders. These are all commonly referred to as ‘soft skills’. During our careers,truly effective development in these areas is probably the most difficult (andrewarding) learning curve that we ever embark upon. Making a leaderOn 1 Feb 2003 in Personnel Today Previous Article Next Article Comments are closed. Related posts:No related photos.last_img read more

first_imgTop job: Ben Emmens, HR services manager, People in AidOn 17 Jun 2003 in Personnel Today Ben Emmens has joined charity People In Aid, an international network ofdevelopment and humanitarian assistance agencies. He joins from Save theChildren UK, where he worked as one of two HR officers advising theorganisation’s emergency programmes. During his time there, he was theoperational HR lead for the charity’s response in Afghanistan, southern Africa,western Africa, the Occupied Palestinian Territories and Iraq. What will your new role entail? My key duties will be to co-ordinate and develop membership services andresources. This includes a code of good practice to support the aid personnel;undertaking and commissioning research, and developing workshops and trainingmaterials for members. What do you hope to achieve in your new role? My challenge is to raise the quality and standard of HR management in thehumanitarian sector, and I hope to achieve this by introducing innovativeservices that will respond to our members’ needs. Which aspects are you most looking forward to? Meeting our members and participating in the active learning networks. What is the strangest situation you have been in at work? I was leading the panel interviewing a candidate for a senior managementpost during a charity fundraising week. A male colleague from anotherdepartment dressed up as a witch on a broomstick, burst in shouting andscreaming and demanded that we put some coins in a collection box in order tobe left in peace. The poor candidate was so taken aback that they quickly puttheir hand in their pocket and duly obliged. How do you think the role of HR will change over the next five years? HR practitioners will be obliged to become ‘business partners’ and the requirementto truly understand the business will be greater than ever. I hope we will seemuch more integration between HR and the line. Also, as recent employmentlegislation starts to bite, there will be an increasing need for a deeper legalunderstanding. How do you fill your spare time? Youthwork, cycling and walking. What is the greatest risk you have ever taken? Leaving a permanent job with a good salary in the private sector for interimwork in the not-for-profit sector. What is the essential tool in your job? The telephone. And the most over-rated? Voicemail. What advice would you give to people starting out in HR? Remember every manager is a people manager – know where you can add value. If you could do any job in the world, what would it be? A travel writer. Who would play you in the film of your life and why? Ry Cooder. I saw his style in the film Buena Vista Social Club, and how hemanaged to get the best out of an eclectic mix of Cuban jazz musicians. I thinkhe would empathise with my own job. What is the worst office party you’ve ever attended? It was in the basement function room of an old office block and camecomplete with fluorescent lighting and a Christmas hits CD on continuous loop. Emmens’ CV2003 HR services manager, People inAid2002 Emergencies HR officer, Save the Children UK2001 Interim HR officer, Save the Children UK1999 Associate, Design Research Unit Comments are closed. Related posts:No related photos. Previous Article Next Articlelast_img read more

first_imgDo you have an e-learning problem? Then ask our experts to find a solution.E-mail it to the address at the bottom of the page Q I’d like to go for bespoke e-learning but have been advised it will becost-prohibitive for a group of 50. Is this true? A To a certain extent, yes. However, let’s consider this in moredetail. For a group of 50 learners, a generic e-learning solution is acost-effective proposition. This solution is quick and easy to implement andsuits urgent training needs, particularly for mainstream systems-basedtraining. A bespoke solution is almost always a more expensive option. When a smallgroup is involved, the costs are amplified, and the time taken to develop andimplement the training may be difficult to justify. However, the subject matterand target audience are a critical consideration when deciding the value oftaking the bespoke route. As an example, one of our customers needed to train 200 people in a business-criticalprocess. This group was dispersed and required constant refresher training. Thetarget audience preferred to take the learning when they needed to use it. Inthis situation the business case for bespoke e-learning was easy to make andthe solution was still more cost-effective than running the training in aclassroom. Faced with a target audience of 50 users, it is also important to ask youre-learning developer to think creatively. It may be able to offer alternativesto ‘traditional e-learning’ approaches. Voice-based support tools, web-basedassessment, virtual class-rooms, message boards or intranet-based knowledgelayers, for example, may provide an effective learning intervention at a lowercost than a complete bespoke course. Collaboration with other customers may be an option. Your supplier may beable to bring together a number of customers who will share the same corecontent. Each can then pay for their own customisation. This model works wellfor compliance type training and core business skills. Alternatively, a generic course topped and tailed with bespoke learning canprove very effective, and offers the strengths of both bespoke and genericsolutions. Response by Sunil Mehta Saffron Interactive, Previous Article Next Article Comments are closed. Professional dilemmasOn 1 Sep 2003 in Personnel Today Related posts:No related photos.last_img read more

first_imgHospitality sector hit by drink and drug abuseOn 1 Nov 2003 in Personnel Today Comments are closed. Previous Article Next Article Alcohol and drug abuse is reaching epidemic proportions across thehospitality sector, as restaurateurs, hoteliers and their staff struggle tocope with stress and lack of sleep from shift work. A survey by Caterer & Hotelkeeper magazine, found 97 per cent ofhospitality professionals believe alcohol and drug abuse is a problem for theirindustry. More than one in two reported that the combined effects have reached”worrying” levels. The survey of almost 1,000 hospitality professionals found 40 per cent ofrespondents had seen colleagues take illegal drugs while at work, and 59 percent had seen colleagues drinking to excess while on duty. Alcohol emerged asthe bigger problem of the two, with 99 per cent of respondents identifying itas a problem for the industry. The most common reasons given by people who took drugs at work were “tostay awake during the shift”, and “to help cope with stress”. Related posts:No related photos.last_img read more

first_img Previous Article Next Article Comments are closed. Nic Paton profiles top supermarkets Tesco, Asda and Sainsbury’s, and looks at their HR strategies and what they have planned for the futureThe UK supermarket and grocery market is worth an estimated £5.7bn, of which, according to researcher Verdict, Tesco accounts for more than half – an astonishing £3.1bn of sales.The dominance of Tesco has been the primary story of the sector for the past decade, ever since it first overtook Sainsbury’s in 1995. As the first UK company to report profits of more than £2bn, the first (and so far only) UK supermarket chain to become a truly global player and increasingly dominant in non-traditional grocery areas – such as convenience stores, clothing and non-food – Tesco has been a success story without parallel.With an enviable track record when it comes to HR and leadership development, it is arguably Tesco’s investment in its people – its ‘Every Little Helps’ slogan sums up the sort of mentality it is trying to engender in its staff – as much as its ethos of ‘pile ’em high, sell ’em cheap’ that has been behind much of its growth in the past few years.“What really helped Tesco get off the ground in the 1990s was that it recognised that its staff were not as well trained as those at Sainsbury’s,” says Andrea Cockram, an analyst at Verdict. “It put a lot of effort into that, and it has paid off.” Perhaps the biggest HR story of the past couple of years, however, has been Morrisons’ swoop on Safeway in March 2004, which consolidated the sector into four key players.Back in 2002, Morrisons did not even get a mention in Personnel Today’s profile of the sector. At the time, the Bradford-based chain, led by veteran retailer Sir Ken Morrison (son of founder William), although highly respected in retailing circles, was for the most part a northern supermarket chain. That all changed in 2003, when the company pounced on the ailing Safeway, which was four times its size. Finally completing the tortuous 14-month, £2.9bn deal in March last year, it catapulted Morrisons into fourth place in the sector, and it now has 435 stores and employs 150,000 staff. But if it was designed to be a glorious finale in the career of 74-year-old Morrison, it has proved sorely misguided. A string of five profit warnings followed – with latest forecasts down as low as £50m, from £320m last year.One of the criticisms of Morrisons since the integration began has been a lack of information given to the City about what is going on. This shyness also extends to the chain’s media relations, it appears, with Personnel Today’s request for an interview with HR director Mike Greenwood being declined – we had hoped to run a page profiling the supermarket.As the former Safeway HR director, Rebecca Ivers, revealed in Personnel Today last year, people were “scared because it happened out of the blue”, rumours were flying around of stores closing and jobs being cut, and everyone was in limbo for 18 months. At the very least, such uncertainty, fear and tension required the sort of sensitive touch that unfortunately appears not to have been forthcoming from Morrison and his team.What is clear is that 2005 is set to be a crunch year for the supermarket sector, argues Verdict. Morrisons may be languishing at the moment, but if or when it pulls things around, it is likely to change the whole complexion of the sector. Of course, Morrisons may yet defy the doomsayers and come out the other end, ready to take on Asda, Sainsbury’s and Tesco. At the company’s last results, Morrison, in a masterly moment of understatement, conceded the past year had been “exacting” for staff. Next year, he added, would be just as hard. For Greenwood and his HR team, too, no doubt.In such a competitive industry, where every customer lost or gained counts, supermarkets have long recognised the value of giving HR a high profile. They all spend vast amounts of time and effort on coaching, leadership, talent management, retention and reward strategies. Retail is an area where HR, successfully at Tesco and less so at Morrisons, is in the spotlight, like few others.   Related posts:No related photos. Supermarket sweepBy Nic Paton on 5 Jul 2005 in Personnel Todaylast_img read more

first_img Tags MortgagesrefinancingResidential Real Estate Share via Shortlink Share on FacebookShare on TwitterShare on LinkedinShare via Email Share via Shortlink Mortgage interest rates may be on the rise again, but for the past year, they were trending downward, with each week seeming to hit yet another record low. So what does this mean for homebuyers?Ace Watanasuparp, Senior Vice President at Citizens Bank, may not have a crystal ball, but he does have some tips on how those looking to buy or refinance homes can take advantage of the historically low rates.Watanasuparp sat down with The Real Deal editor-in-chief Stuart Elliott to break down what created the “artificially low environment” for interest rates, and what banks are looking for in their mortgage applicants.Watch the video to learn more.Read moreSuburban home inventory is depleted, but demand ragesMortgage applications reach pandemic peakMortgage applications rise as rates reach another record lowlast_img read more

first_img Email Address* Share via Shortlink Message* Full Name* Share on FacebookShare on TwitterShare on LinkedinShare via Email Share via Shortlink A photo illustration of the original 960 Franklin Avenue proposal with Continuum Company’s Bruce Eichner (iStock, 960 Franklin)A developer who proposed two Crown Heights apartment towers, only to be shot down by the mayor because they would shadow the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, has shrunk the project.The new plan from Bruce Eichner’s Continuum Company, however, proposes far less affordable housing, The City reported.Eichner’s website now pitches a project peaking at 17 stories, which he pits against a 34-story project that Mayor Bill de Blasio recently said would not be approved because it would be out of scale with the neighborhood and deprive the Botanic Garden of crucial sunlight.Read moreDe Blasio’s Crown Heights flip-flop was no Garden-variety reversalIn stunning reversal, de Blasio opposes Eichner’s Crown Heights towersJudge overturns contested Franklin Avenue rezoning But the newly proposed towers,  at 960 Franklin Avenue, would come with far less affordable housing. The project first submitted for city review would have 1,578 rental apartments, half of which would be affordable, with 40 percent of the affordable units reserved for households earning half of the area median income.The shortened project would contain 279 affordable rentals, amounting to 25 percent of the 1,170 units. The plan would still require approval from the City Council and mayor.The developer also floated an as-of-right project, meaning it could be built with no political approvals, containing 518 condominiums and no affordable housing. It is not clear if Eichner would use union labor for that development, as he had pledged to do for his 34-story, dual-tower project.Adrian Benepe, the Botanic Garden president and former city parks commissioner, told The City that developers did not consult him on the latest proposal.“That’s been the modus operandi of this developer the entire time,” Benepe said. “They developed a plan in a vacuum without contemplating the impacts not just on the garden but on the entire community.”Project details are often negotiated with the local City Council member, in this case Laurie Cumbo, during the seven-month public review. Cumbo also objected to Eichner’s original proposal.[The City] — Sasha JonesContact Sasha Jones Tags Affordable HousingBill de Blasiobrooklynbruce eichnerlast_img read more