Acas calls for wider role and more funds

Acas
has urged the Government to widen the conciliation service’s role and provide greater
funding for resolving employment disputes.

The
Government has proposed removing Acas’s duty to conciliate in cases involving
wage deduction, breach of contract and redundancy payments.

In
response to consultation on reform of the tribunal system, Rita Donaghy, chair
of Acas, said, "We support the Government’s aim of helping and encouraging
employers and employees to resolve disputes in the workplace. However, we feel
the Government’s proposals to remove our duty to conciliate in some cases is at
odds with the overall aims of the proposals."

Speaking
in The Financial Times, she added that Acas offered an opportunity for earlier
dispute resolution while complaints were processed through the tribunal system.

Acas
has suggested that a fixed period for conciliation and guidelines for handling
discipline and workplace grievances would improve the system.

It
is also calling for extra cash to develop good practice and has proposed that
other groups could provide conciliation services under a kite-marking scheme.

Figures
show that complaints to tribunals about discrimination in the workplace rose by
21 per cent last year.

By
Mike Broad

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