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Peter Cheese, chief executive of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD), strongly condemned worker blacklisting as he gave evidence to the Scottish Affairs Select Committee in Parliament on Tuesday. The head of the institute was questioned by the committee as part of its inquiry into blacklisting in the construction industry and other sectors.
Cheese told the committee that the CIPD was currently investigating 19 members over allegations of blacklisting with findings expected in the next 18 months. However, he said he would not prejudge the outcome of the investigations.
Speaking more broadly, he said: “We take the issue very seriously. I condemn the practice, the law has now rightly been tightened, and it mustn’t happen again.”
The committee asked Cheese if HR professionals were part of the problem or part of the solution. When it comes to the immoral practice of blocking people from jobs with secret lists.
He responded: “We want to promote better behaviours and standards in the HR profession. We should see ourselves as part of the solution. When it comes to whistle blowing, the CIPD can provide a channel of confidential support to HR members who are aware of evidence but have no recourse within their organisation. They can come to us.”
Cheese also highlighted the institute’s robust code of conduct that was revised in 2012. He said it had been revised partly in response to the Information Commissioner’s Office evidence of blacklisting following a raid on the offices of The Consulting Association in 2009. Many employers in the construction industry were paid subscribers to this secret list.