The status of the Personnel function is subject to an ongoing debate in which attention has largely shifted from department to individual practitioner level. There remains, however, significant functional power in organisational structures, particularly in more institutionalised contexts. Aimed at the departmental level, the higher education state funding council for England (HEFCE) introduced an initiative to improve Personnel departments in Higher Education. However, survey evidence confirms the continuation of the low power position of the department. An exploration of the empirical data highlights why: the routine rigidity of power in organisational structures, the fragmentation of departmental power, and Personnel role ambiguity.