In your corner- REC Campaigns and Policy news July 2022
Government and campaigns
The phrase, a week is a long time in politics has rarely felt more apt. Since our last blog, the Prime Minister has announced his departure from No 10, an entirely new Cabinet has been appointed, and what promises to be an electric Conservative Leadership contest is under way. Regardless of how it all shapes up, it’s business as normal for the REC Campaigns team.
For the last couple of months, the Campaigns team has been building on our previous work on labour and skills shortages and aiming to provide some long-term solutions to the issue for government and business. On Monday, we’ll launch our “Overcoming Shortages: how to create a sustainable labour market” report. The report examines the impact of the ongoing labour and skills shortages to the UK economy through economic modelling, international benchmarking and business insights. In addition, we’ve pulled together recommendations for government and business, which suggests some practical policy changes that will truly help us create a sustainable labour market and boost economic growth for the long-term. Most important is working in collaboration to achieve that – we often talk about people being our greatest assets, but now is the time to put those words into action, government and business have to put the “people stuff” first. Please look out for the report on Monday, and as always, we’d love to hear what you think – drop us an email via firstname.lastname@example.org .
Debate and vote on proposed repeal of Regulation 7
On Monday, MPs debated and voted on the Statutory Instrument (SI) that would repeal Regulation 7. The REC sent a briefing to every MP which resulted in a meeting with the shadow Business Minister, Justin Madders MP and Deputy Leader, Angela Rayner MP. That meeting, and the briefing we provided, informed the debate in which the REC was named on several occasions, our data quoted, and our messages repeated. As expected, the SI passed but the vote was closer than anticipated, getting just 87 votes to push it over the line. On Tuesday, we wrote to Lord Hodgson, Chair of the Secondary Legislation Scrutiny Committee (SLSC) urging the committee to give the SI the scrutiny it requires, particularly in the absence of any consultation with business. You can watch the debate here.
REC responds to labour market inquiry
At the end of May, the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) Select Committee launched an inquiry into the UK’s labour market as labour and skills shortages restrict economic growth. We submitted our consultation response last week and in it, the REC urges government to put people first and ensure our skills policies, immigration system, devolution and labour market activation policies are right. Only by doing this, can we create a truly sustainable labour market and boost economic growth. You can read our full submission here.
Neil Carberry giving evidence to BEIS Select Committee
As a result of our Select Committee submission and previous appearance at the Select Committee, the REC has again been invited to give oral evidence on labour and skills shortages, and the wider UK labour market. During this session, MPs will take evidence from experts, including the REC, to build upon the submissions already received. They will then come up with recommendations for government. The oral evidence session takes place on Tuesday 19 July at 10:30am, Neil will be up in front of the committee from 11:15.
Dr Navina Evans becomes the first Chief Workforce Officer at NHS England
NHS England (NHSE) has announced Dr Navina Evans as Chief Workforce Officer, replacing Prerana Issa (former Chief People’s Officer at NHSE) under a new title. Dr Evans’s role oversees a merged workforce and people directorate, looking after supply and demand of workers, education and training. Dr Evans is currently CEO of Health Education England (HEE) with significant experience in healthcare and workforce planning. As HEE is set to merge with NHSE, Dr Evans will fulfil both roles until April 2023. The REC has written to Dr Evans, introducing our members and requesting a meeting to discuss future collaboration.
Neil Carberry responds to the President of ADCS
The REC is aware of the speech made by Steve Crocker, President of the Association of Directors of Children’s Services (ADCS). In his speech, Mr Crocker suggested that agencies in social work are profiteering and even suggested that agenciesworking in the sector should be regulated and even banned. REC CEO Neil Carberry responded, in robust terms, “We never oppose appropriate regulation for the sector – but I should be clear that the banning of agencies is something we will oppose. This can only be seen as an attempt to create a closed shop that holds down social worker wages and reduces their flexible employment options.” Please click here to view the full letter to Mr Crocker.
The KMPG and REC’s latest UK Reports on Jobs highlighted that permanent staff appointments and temp billings expanded at the softest rates for 16 months in June. Recruiters mentioned that candidate shortages continued to limit hiring activity, and slower decision-making by clients amid greater economic uncertainty also dampened growth. At the same time, overall demand for workers increased at the slowest rate since March 2021.
We also published the Labour Market Tracker, which reveals that there were around 1.69 million active job adverts in the week of 6-12 June. This was 6% more than the previous week and 5% up from a month earlier. However, the number of new job adverts being posted dropped significantly last week, with roughly 160,000 new adverts posted.
The REC’s latest Report on Jobs, published on Friday 8 July, was covered by a number of outlets including The Times, Reuters and City AM, as well as print editions of the Sun, the i and the Yorkshire Post.
Over the weekend, the REC and a number of members were featured in the Economist, talking to Soumaya Keynes about how the labour market is struggling to recover from the pandemic.
Finally, with the changes to Regulation 7 back in parliament this week, the REC has been back in the news too. As well as citing us in her debate speech, Angela Rayner MP cited the REC’s view in a column in the Independent this week, and our response to the changes being backed by MPs was included in Recruiter magazine.
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