Opinions needed to influence public policy

Charles Cotton, CIPD: Why don’t more reward professionals get engaged in public policy? When I give talks or presentations on my work, most practitioners and consultants listen attentively to the findings from my latest research.

However, when I talk about my role representing the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) in the corridors of Whitehall – lobbying ministers, civil servants and policy makers about reward – I can see most of the audience look at me politely with a ‘how does this impact on me’ expression on their faces.

But it does affect us all because without comment from those of us at the reward coalface, civil servants and politicians are more likely to introduce changes that adversely affect (albeit often unintentionally) the way that many of us use reward to attract, motivate and engage existing staff, and prospective employees.

One could cite examples of policy decisions on big issues such as occupational pensions, executive remuneration, anti-age discrimination legislation as well as on such technical issues as employee assistance programmes, approved mileage allowance payments and health screening. The government often consults the CIPD on its proposals.

So we have a great opportunity to influence thinking in this area. What impresses the officials and ministers that I come into contact with is that the CIPD’s policy stance is influenced not by ideology, but by the findings from our research and the views of our profession.

They love meeting members who can tell them the way that it is and who are able to say that if you really want to do ‘x’ then the best way of going about it is ‘y’. I would invite all reward professionals to please help to support the CIPD in its public policy role by giving us your views on government proposals and current regulation by contacting me at c.cotton@cipd.co.uk. By all working together, we can make a difference.

  • Charles Cotton is reward and employment conditions adviser at the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD)