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Work Foundation commission is to look at quality of work and the encouragement of good practice to boost productivity


The Work Foundation has launched 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 Good Work Commission's look at quality of work issues is one of the most comprehensive to be conducted in recent years.

The aim 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.

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, are 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, chief executive, Asda

Clare Chapman, director general of workforce, The Department of Health

Rt Rev Richard Chartres, The Bishop of London

Adam Crozier, chief executive, Royal Mail (Adam is expected to take up the position of ITV CEO in April)

John Hannett, general secretary, USDAW

Peter Housden, permanent secretary, The Department of Communities and Local Government

Will Hutton, executive vice chair, The Work Foundation

Jim McAuslan, general secretary, BALPA

Carolyn McCall, chief executive, Guardian Media Group

Peter Sands, group chief executive, Standard Chartered

John Varley, group chief executive, Barclays

Kim Winser, OBE, former chief executive of Pringle and Aquascutum

The Good Work Commission will publish two reports resulting from its deliberations and research over the next seven months.

The first will examine the state of the contemporary employment relationship in the UK and will be published in spring 2010; the second will focus on how to encourage more good work in firms and organisations and will be published at the start of the autumn.

Will Hutton (pictured), 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."