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Human Resource Functions

Volume 447: debated on Thursday 22 June 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will make a statement on the development of human resource functions within Departmental activities. (76521)

When the new Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) was formed in 2002, the Human Resources (HR) function inherited different sets of legacy HR policies and terms and conditions; paper driven systems: HR Service Centres dominated by low value added data input; Business HR teams preoccupied with detailed transactional based advice; and Corporate HR focussed on developing and maintaining detailed and over-prescriptive HR guidance.

Working with colleagues from the DWP Businesses, the HR Senior Management Team designed a new HR Operating Model based on best practice in both the private and public sectors. The HR function now has in place a set of HR job roles common across the Department, delivering a uniform HR service.

This new HR Operating Model places the emphasis on self service for employees and line managers, with on-line access to HR processes through the new Resource Management IT system which will be fully implemented in 2007. This is supported by a telephone based advice and guidance service provided by integrated HR and Finance shared service centres, and accessed through a single telephone number.

The new Operating Model for HR in DWP has already allowed for a reduction in HR staff numbers from 5,500 to 3,000, and by March 2008 that number will be reduced by a further 500. This has freed up resources for front line work with our clients.

Business HR teams focus on working strategically with operational managers on the HR issues affecting business performance. Corporate HR has been restructured to form four new Centres of Expertise which have improved and simplified the Department’s HR policies, making them easier for line managers to interpret and use.