Good Work Commission to investigate changing nature of work

Date Published:10 March 2010
Category:All News
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The Work Foundation today announces the launch of a wide-ranging investigation into the UK workplace. Using independent research and led by senior figures from business, the public sector and trade unions, the Commission’s look at quality of work issues is one of the most comprehensive to be conducted in recent years.

The aim of the Good Work Commission is to examine the major challenges of work in the 21st century and redefine the notion of good work – work that is rewarding for business, society and individuals.


The project comes at a critical juncture:

  • With the UK economy weathering the financial crisis, this investigation takes place at a time when many complain that the experience of work is getting worse.
  • The responsibilities of businesses towards society and employees, as well as shareholders, is increasingly centre-stage.
  • The task of increasing productivity in the UK, relative to our major competitors, remains an ongoing challenge.


The Commission is made up of people from across industry and the public sector, together employing or representing approximately 2.4 million people. They are:

  • Chair: Alan Parker, founder and chairman, Brunswick Group
  • Andy Bond, chairman, Asda
  • Clare Chapman, director general of workforce, NHS and Social Care, Department of Health
  • Rt Rev Richard Chartres, The Bishop of London
  • Adam Crozier, chief executive, ITV (previously Royal Mail)
  • Carolyn Gray, group HR and pensions director, Guardian Media Group
  • John Hannett, general secretary, USDAW
  • Sir Peter Housden, permanent secretary, Scottish Government
  • Will Hutton, executive vice chair, The Work Foundation
  • Jim McAuslan, general secretary, BALPA
  • Peter Sands, group chief executive & Tracy Clarke, group head of human resources and communications, Standard Chartered
  • John Varley, group chief executive, Barclays
  • Kim Winser OBE, senior advisor, 3i and chairman, Agent Provocateur


The Good Work Commission will publish a series of reports resulting from its deliberations and research and a final report of its findings in November 2010.

Alan Parker, founder of Brunswick and chairman of the Good Work Commission, said: “Surprisingly few companies are harnessing the real potential of their people. Some businesses do it brilliantly and should be celebrated, but their example is not as widespread as it ought to be. The Good Work Commission wants to highlight best practice so that businesses and organisations can achieve more by creating an environment that promotes good work.”

Will Hutton, executive vice chair of The Work Foundation, said: “Work matters. It structures people’s days, it’s where they make friends, and at its best it helps people feel useful and fulfilled. Now that the worst of the recession is past, we need to ask again how more work can be good work – more productive, more engaging, and fairer. Firms and technology are changing fast and skills are increasing, but the ways people are managed and led often seem to be stuck in a time-warp.”

The Commission understands good work to be a vision for the future of the employment relationship that seeks to balance the interests of individuals, employers and society.


For more information

Stephen Overell, The Work Foundation Tel: 0207 976 3506 Mobile: 07970 765 251


Notes for editors:

  • The Good Work Commission was formed by The Work Foundation in early 2009
  • The Commission has met regularly, addressing subjects such as leadership, ownership, motivation, employee engagement, the meaning of work and the employment relationship. It will conclude its work in November 2010.
  • Commissioners are taking part in the Commission as individuals.
  • The Work Foundation is the leading independent authority on work and its future. It aims to improve the quality of working life and the effectiveness of organisations by equipping leaders, policymakers and opinion-formers with evidence, advice, new thinking and networks.

© The Work Foundation 2010
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