By Claire West

The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) has welcomed plans by the Government to create a new framework to support better leadership and management across UK plc and to continue to co-fund SMEs to develop these key skills.

The skills strategy, published today, recognises that excellent leadership and management lies at the heart of outstanding business performance and pledges that the Government will work with employers and employer bodies, including the CIPD, to increase capability in these key skills across UK plc.

Ben Willmott, CIPD Senior Public Policy Adviser, said the focus on the importance of leadership and management highlights the increasing recognition among policy makers that this issue is one of the keys to improvements in UK productivity and growth:

“With the economic challenges faced by this country over the next few years, boosting employment and productivity will be crucial — something that will only be achieved if the UK’s people management skills deficit is tackled.

“In light of this challenge, a single framework on leadership and management skills will help clarify the business case for investment in these skills and ensure that, over time, more business leaders recognise that only a step change in management capability will deliver sustainable high performance.

“We are also extremely pleased the government has pledged to continue to support the development of these skills among small and medium sized organisations, through its Leadership and Management Development grant, which the CIPD specifically called for.

“CIPD research suggests that organisations that adopt high performance working practices which are underpinned by high quality people management can expect to receive a 20% increase in productivity and profitability.”

The strategy emphasises the importance of high performance working and includes plans to develop a new strategy for Investors in People to help encourage more employers to invest in people management and development.

The CIPD has also welcomed the focus in the strategy to improve the Apprenticeship programme though an increased emphasis on Level 3 apprenticeships, which provide greater value for both employer and learner.