When I started this blog book in August 2010 it seemed appropriate, on a site about HR, to make my first ‘launch’ piece about the CIPD and the sheer lack of competence and professionalism amongst a Board that is supposed to be the UK’s leading, professional, HR institution. One Board member is Gill Rider, recently Head of Civil Service HR, who has ‘retired’ herself from her Cabinet Office role (April 2011). After 5 years in post her own assessment of her performance in applying the CIPD’s “Next Generation HR” project was that it –
“… transforms the existing departmental model of HR delivery. Instead of each department having its own full HR function there will be shared centres of expertise that will lead on HR for the whole civil service. We are on track to introduce the programme in April (2011) and ultimately it will deliver anticipated savings of £300 million and a best in class (sic) staffing ratio of 1:100.”
You don’t need to be evidence-based to see this for what it is. In fact you don’t need much intelligence at all. There is somebody though who doesn’t appear to possess even that minimum level. Someone who cannot admit that hype will never cover up a performance score of zilch. That person is her ex-boss, the most senior Civil Servant in the UK, Gus O’Donnell, Cabinet Secretary and Head of the Home Civil Service, whose performance appraisal of Rider’s accomplishments (sic) was -
“Not only has Gill led some amazing work to transform the HR profession, she has seen through a transformation of the senior leadership of the civil service. The development of the Top 200, capability reviews and talent management programmes, such as SCS (senior civil service) Basecamp, are just three examples of the impact she has made on the Civil Service.”
This is one of those employee references you give when you have nothing good to say about someone; you just confirm they were there. When our Top 200, intellectually superior, civil servants allow themselves to be ‘developed’ by people like Rider, and have such mindless behaviour reinforced by O’Donnell, who regards attending “talent management programmes” as “impact”, we know that although the Civil Service might still be breathing, just, by any definition it is already brain dead. I would just add that Rider’s remarkable achievement, surviving for 5 years without doing anything, has now also been recognised by her chums on the Board of the CIPD who have appointed her as their President.
One more thought also occurs to me – I wonder what the words HR, evidence, professionalism and performance mean to the Board of Rider’s previous employer, Accenture; whose erstwhile sister company, Arthur Andersen, inspired the banner for this site, after its own demise in the wake of the Enron scandal?
*From HR Strategy (2nd Edition, 2010, p 187)
“Good and bad politics
One thing that could get in the way of all this common sense is office politics. Although we need to make a very clear distinction here between what could be called ‘normal political discussions’ and the sort of corrosive ‘Yes, Minister’ politics that have nothing to do with organisational performance (and are killing the civil service).”