Out of this world 1

April 8, 2005

Jocelyn Prudence of the Universities and Colleges Employers'

Association believes that "expertise" in the management of human resources in higher education has "improved substantially" ("£600m for pay 'frittered away'", April 1).

Is she on a different planet? The same HR managers helped to bring about two industrial relations phenomena that would have been unthinkable five years ago: a successful industrial action by the Association of University Teachers last year and the likely merger of the AUT and lecturers' union Natfhe.

One source of such "expertise" is the Chartered Institute of Personnel Development, which accredits most masters programmes in HR management. It has recently introduced new "professional standards" for "leadership and management". Its exam guidelines include the following: "The key link with performance is to get employees not just to do their job but also to act beyond contract and do more than they are formally required." Nuff said.

Richard Hull
Newcastle upon Tyne

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