Reshuffle - Implications for the industry
With rumours swirling and a veritable carousel of comings and goings, this week’s cabinet reshuffle felt a bit like the football transfer window all over again. QPR tried to sign the outgoing Health Secretary on loan, apparently.
The downside of the shake-up was losing some of the main Ministers that we have been in regular dialogue with – in particular the employment relations minister Norman Lamb and the employment minister Chris Grayling. The upside is the opportunity to take forward key industry messages with the new incumbents as well as the renewed focus on growth that will hopefully boost business confidence and job creation.
One major change for us is within the Department for Business (BIS) where the Liberal Democrat Jo Swinson MP has taken over as Employment Relations Minister with a specific responsibility for the agency sector. Our last meeting with the previous Minister had laid the ground for a comprehensive review of the Conduct Regulations and also included a commitment to review the administrative implications of the AWR. We need to ensure that momentum is not lost due to the change.
Meanwhile, over at the Department for Work & Pensions (DWP), Mark Hoban is the new Employment Minister taking over from Chris Grayling. We had met with the outgoing Minister three times of the last couple of months and have seen signs of progress – for example with regards to apprenticeships and other measures to address the youth unemployment crisis. However, one of our key messages to the new Minister is that we need a careers guidance network that is fit for purpose and that draws upon the expertise and labour market knowledge of specialist recruiters. A meeting is already in the diary for later this month.
Jeremy Hunt is the new Secretary of State for Health, replacing Andrew Lansley. Will this mean change of direction with regards to NHS reforms? REC Healthcare will be taking stock of any potential implications in terms of resourcing patterns and future staffing needs. The fact that Norman Lamb – our previous Ministerial contact at BIS - is now Minister for Care Services is good news and means that we can build on our existing relationship. Elsewhere, changes within the Treasury will provide an opportunity for a new drive on issues such as HMRC enforcement , ‘controlling persons’ proposals and IR35 rules.
Our immediate priority is to build relationships with new ministers and officials , The forthcoming party conferences will provide a great early platform for taking this forward. REC members can also play a key role by building links with any local MPs who find themselves ‘in with the in-crowd’ following the reshuffle. Any ministerial change means having to start afresh and take one step back. It is up to us to ensure that we build new relationships and quickly take two steps forward.