Alongside 200,000 service men and women, MOD employs 60,000 civil servants who fulfil a wide range of roles in the UK and worldwide to keep our nation safe and help it prosper. The Civilian HR function’s 1,450 people professionals across Defence work hard to create an environment that attracts and retains civil servants with the right skills to keep MOD agile and responsive to ever-changing challenges.

To recognise their commitment to the capability, credibility and impact of their people professionals, the Head Office Civilian HR Directorate was awarded the CIPD’s coveted People Development Partner status in 2020. And the team has maintained their commitment by investing in high-quality training and development, applying research and insight to their people strategy, and building a strong professional community that delivers the best environment and opportunities for the people who work across Defence. 

The challenge: the best defence through a capable workforce

This commitment matters. The MOD’s HR function is one that we all depend upon. When the country’s safety and protection depend on the capability of your people, understanding your workforce takes on extra significance. The HR function’s capability in strategic workforce planning contributes directly to MOD’s ability to fulfil its defence tasks and commitments.

Victoria Smith, HR Director and Head of the HR Profession in Defence, recognises that this contribution demands innovation in HR practice. And this requires colleagues to:

  • cut through complexity, solve problems and use evidence to challenge the status quo
  • be great team players and leaders, modelling the right behaviours and giving constructive feedback
  • keep learning and experimenting with new ideas and approaches
  • create strong networks, build credibility with stakeholders, and inspire trust.

We’re creating a strong, confident professional community where colleagues support one another to develop and deliver for Defence.

Victoria Smith HR Director and Head of the HR Profession in Defence, UK Ministry of Defence

The solution: the highest-quality learning, assessment and recognition

The partnership with the CIPD has developed over time, forming a cornerstone of the HR profession’s people strategy and helping it fine-tune the investment it makes in its people function. This commitment includes equipping its people professionals to grow and progress by funding learning programmes, Experience Assessment and CIPD membership fees.

The partnership’s most recent focus has been upskilling MOD’s Strategic Workforce Planning practitioners through high-quality training and assessment, linked to professional recognition.

The CIPD’s Experience Assessment route opens up accreditation opportunities for around 40 people professionals each year – colleagues who demonstrate
evidence of the knowledge, behaviours and impact required for CIPD membership.

And the assessment of professional standards at Level 3, 5 and 7 is enabling others to achieve HR Support and Learning and Development Practitioner qualifications via the apprenticeship route.

I’ve always found the CIPD to be helpful and responsive – our accredited Strategic Workforce Planning programme provides learning that is suitable and relevant to MOD. 

Stu Saville, Strategic Workforce Planning Consultant, UK Ministry of Defence

The outcome: confident, evidence-based innovation

MOD’s long-term relationship with the CIPD is boosting the Civilian HR function’s capacity to develop and innovate. Its workforce planning capability is now grounded in deeper, broader knowledge. People professionals are demonstrating strategic, evidence-based decision-making across wider issues. And the increase in recognition and membership is creating new opportunities for MOD’s people professionals to access CIPD courses, take part in seminars, speak at conferences and join communities of good practice, internally and across the profession. 

I had always wanted to achieve Chartered CIPD Professional Membership. It was fantastic to have the opportunity to do this through the Experience Assessment route. With support from MOD’s HR profession, I’ve been able to build my knowledge across the HR spectrum as well as reflect on my own experience.

Jill Eaton, Civilian Employee Experience, UK Ministry of Defence

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