Memorandum from Chartered Institute of
Personnel and Development (CIPD)
The Institute is pleased to contribute written
comments to the above inquiry and will be happy to take part in
an oral hearing if invited to do so.
In our view as shown by the results of the latest
Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) survey
(enclosed), age discrimination affects younger and older people
alike. It leads to organisations making improperly informed decisions
about the employment and development of people to the detriment
of businesses, individuals and society.
The CIPD is the leading national professional
body on all people management and development issues in the UK
with a personal membership exceeding 107,000. It has taken a leadership
role for more than a decade in focusing attention on the importance
of tackling age discrimination in employment. We believe this
is essential to help organisations to recruit and retain the best
of all the available talent. We have recommended that employment
policies and practices are reviewed to remove age bias. We have
also encouraged approaches to human resourcing that help organisations
to respond to the challenges of the modern world of business and
changes in demographics and people's aspirations and expectations
about careers and employment.
Our policy is that education and understanding
about age discrimination is of prime importance and that promotion
of the business case for action is essential to undermine entrenched
attitudes and traditional expectations about work and how old
you have to be to do it. Notable achievements include close involvement
with the development of the Voluntary Code on Age Diversity in
Employment published in the summer of 1999 and the Government's
public awareness campaign.
In addition, we have promoted the need to tackle
age discrimination through written material such as the Quick
Fact Sheet on Age and Employment attached to this letter, (available
on the CIPD website), and through CIPD national level conferences,
such as Opening Doors for Diversity which took place last
The Institute has been in the vanguard of active
promotion and good practice guidance on age diversity. We are
serious about the need to systematic change and concerned that
the right tools are available to deliver it.
In stamping out age discrimination we have always
taken a cautious line about the introduction of legislation as
the main lever for promoting change. Without intrinsic understanding
about age discrimination the power of law would be limited. This
is because age discrimination can take subtle and complex forms
and law that simply banned the use of age related criteria would
be easy to circumvent.
The Institute has been concerned for some time
about ways in which discrimination law can be improved as a response
to dealing with prejudice and stereotyping. We will be exploring
how law works best in helping employers to achieve fairness in
the context of work in new CIPD research beginning this year.
We hope the findings will be of value in helping to inform new
discrimination law and statutory reform in the future.
The UK is now faced with the introduction of
law to meet the requirements of the European Directive on establishing
a general framework for the equal treatment in employment and
occupation including age discrimination. On age discrimination
the Directive falls some way short of the principles of good practice
included in the UK Voluntary Code or recommended by the CIPD.
We have until 2006 to implement an appropriate
statute. In the meantime we would like to see a continued and
well resourced campaign to raise awareness further and build on
the imaginative work already undertaken by the Government in developing
and promoting the Voluntary Code on Age Diversity in Employment.
The campaign should focus on engaging employer
action and the creation of a climate of opinion that is ahead
of the European legal requirements. We do not think it would be
appropriate to dismiss the achievements made in the very short
time of the Code's existence. We know from our own efforts that
over night success in raising awareness and influencing behaviour
is not a realistic outcome. The progress of change is evolutionary
not revolutionary. We also think it would make sense to monitor
the impact of the human rights legislation on employment practice.
We hope the Education and Employment Committee
finds the above views helpful and will be pleased to expand on
them further if required.
Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development