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CBI: Strong business case for investing in health and wellbeing

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Majority of workers would prefer sick colleagues to stay homeAs we reported earlier this week, an employee wellness programme can be worth doing alone as an incentive and engagement tool. But for those employers who need some evidence of their impact on the bottom line comes a new CBI report, which shows the costs to employers who fail to address employee health and wellbeing. The direct costs of employee absence to the economy is estimated at over £14 billion per year and the average total cost to business for each absent employee is £975. These figures would be higher still if productivity lost due to presenteeism – staff attending work despite being unwell – was included as well. The new CBI report – Getting Better: Workplace health as a business issue – outlines exactly how businesses can improve the wellbeing of their staff and provides a practical support tool to support firms, based on the experience of CBI members. More →

Innovative public sector property scheme to be extended

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Hull GuildhallOne of the UK’s most innovative property strategies, the One Public Sector Estate programme is to be extended, the Government has announced. The initiative was established in June of last year in 12 pilot areas as a way for central and local government departments to share offices and other public sector property. The programme will now be extended to as many as 15 new authorities across the country with the Cabinet Office claiming that the pilot schemes have already  saved around £21m in under a year and that the sale of property freed up by the scheme will raise an additional £88 million. The strategy is jointly managed by the property arm of the Cabinet Office who are responsible for similar initiatives in central government, and the Local Government Association.

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The Wall Street Journal (and others) are wrong about human resources

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original_dustpan-and-brushEverybody ready? Great. Then it’s time for another round of HR bashing and a tipping point for more existential navel-gazing for everyone’s favourite corporate pantomime villain – the human resources department. Or is it? You can choose your own particular moment at which the crowd boos and hisses at the bad guys in HR, but hot on the heels of the Lucy Adams debacle at the Beeb and a report that finds human resources to be the profession with the most “can’t do” attitude comes an article from, of all places, the Wall Street Journal that looks at what it means to do away with your HR function altogether. The restrictions of the word count being what they are, coupled with the way sweeping generalisations provide the quickest way to guarantee a bump in readership, the WSJ takes the broadest of brushes to add another coat to the painting of HR as an ancillary function that, far from oiling the wheels of commerce, is often a distraction at best and, at worst, an active obstruction.

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Public sector purchasing doesn’t need this kind of lightbulb moment

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lightbulb1The latest of the weekly kickings reserved for the UK’s public sector purchasing community comes in the shape of a BBC Panorama documentary alleging that a range of frauds and cock-ups cost the National Health Service around £7 billion a year. The NHS denies these figures but there are clearly obvious and serious deficiencies in the way goods and services are procured across the public sector, as we have reported. Yet there is a flipside to such reports which tap in to (and sometimes pander to) a widespread scepticism of the way the public sector goes about its business. So we must first ask whether an equivalent private sector organisation with a budget of £109 billion a year would not also be open to a wide range of eye-wateringly expensive failures, inefficiencies and frauds. And secondly we must question whether the great British public, along with some businesses, are generally able to grasp the issues involved.

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Large and small firms demand greater transparency in government procurement

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WhitehallThe whole thorny issue of public sector procurement is never far from the news, but this week gained new prominence as one contractor walked out on a £1 billion contract because it felt the Ministry of Justice hadn’t grasped the idea of intellectual property amongst other things, while the Confederation of British Industry raised the stakes overall by claiming that a culture of secrecy in government purchasing continues to foster mistrust and waste taxpayers’ money. The CBI goes so far as to claim that even the most high profile botched contracts over recent years have not deterred the government from its move to inculcate a culture of opacity rather than transparency when procuring goods and services. It called on the Government to move to open book contracts so that all parties are aware of contract terms and margins.

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Keep up! new “megatrends” could have dramatic impacts on the world of work

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new megatrends could have dramatic impacts on the world of work

We are all aware to some extent or other of the ways in which work has changed significantly over the past few decades, but are employers sufficiently aware of, or prepared for, the future trends that will shape the way we work and the performance of our organisations and economies into the future? This is the question posed by HR body the CIPD in a major new discussion document Megatrends: The trends shaping work and working lives” as it launches a debate on the “megatrends” that are likely to shape the world of work, the workforce and the culture and organisation of workplaces over the next decade.

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Using the office treadmill to fight the flab

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Office treadmill

While shopping recently for a new arm chair, I noticed the prevalence of “snuggle chairs”, marketed as wider than average chairs in which two people can sit cosily together. However, judging by some of the customers checking them out, they appeared much more suitable for use by individuals with a wider girth. You don’t have to people-watch in a furniture store or visit the town of Tamworth, which this weekend the Daily Mail branded ‘”the fattest town in Britain” to notice people are getting fatter. Could a new “office treadmill” help address the obesity problem?

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UK centralised public sector purchasing – still work to do

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Whitehall,_LondonThe National Audit Office today publishes its report  Improving Government Procurement. The mainstream media will doubtless stay focussed on the headline examples of ‘waste’, especially in high-spending and high-profile departments such as the MOD and NHS. But for the public sector and its suppliers there is more to be concerned about in one of the main conclusions of the report; that less than half of public sector spending in the UK is carried out across departments to take advantage of economies of scale. That this is the case has long been a source of frustration for those suppliers signed up to framework agreements who find that things aren’t as clear cut as they believe when it comes to purchasing decisions.

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Global FM announces strategic vision & FM award winners

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Global FM

Global FM, (Global Facility Management Association) has formalised changes to its strategic plan. It follows the recommendations of a special Taskforce set up last year to evaluate the structure, objectives and activities of the association, a worldwide federation of member-centric organisations representing the facilities management profession. The Association explains the taskforce was: “In agreement that a more simplified structure would allow a better use of resources focussing on activities that create added value for the association and its members and avoiding any duplication of the outcomes of the national FM associations.”

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