Industrial Society to sharpen its act with new name under Hutton

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THE INDUSTRIAL SOCIETY, the body founded 81 years ago to improve the lot of factory and mill workers, is planning to change its name and style itself as less of a training organisation and more a cross between lobby group and think-tank.

The overhaul of the society's image and structure follows the appointment of Will Hutton, the author and former editor of the Observer newspaper, as its new director. He takes up the post early next year.

Founded in 1918 as The Boys Welfare Association, the society switched to its current name in 1965 and became a familiar fixture of the industrial landscape, campaigning for fair wages and decent working conditions. It has also become one of the country's biggest training organisations with as many members in financial services as its traditional manufacturing heartland.

Although training, advice about best work practice and conferences will continue to be its main income earner, Mr Hutton and other senior executives of the society want to give it more of a cutting edge.

Internally, the name is regarded as an anachronism and although no decisions have yet been taken about what to call the society instead, one school of thought says the new title should include the word "work".

The society will continue with projects such as 2020 Vision, based on one of the most comprehensive surveys ever undertaken of young people and their attitudes.

But grafted onto this sort of work will be an increased emphasis on in-depth research into issues such as social exclusion and new trends in working.

One of the issues the society has to confront is that while its many of its members are corporate, those in work are increasingly self-employed, on contract or with small start-up businesses.