Acas to raise awareness of individual arbitration scheme

He said that Acas had not been able to relaunch the scheme yet because it
had been caught up in legal problems around its compatibility with Scottish
law.

Wareing defended the overall concept of the system and blamed a lack of
awareness for the low take-up among employers.

"The concept is not flawed and it hasn’t been sold enough. Starting
from scratch is always a long process. We need to raise awareness of the system
because employers always fear a step into the unknown," he said.

He stressed that in the 41 cases that have taken place, user satisfaction
was very high and that its speed and confidentiality was still attractive to
employers.

Cases dealt with by the system are not subject to public record and its
findings are private, legally binding and not subject to appeal.

CIPD employee relations expert Mike Emmott blamed an "inertia of
interest" from employers and lawyers for its failure to catch on.

Engineering Employers Federation head of legal affairs Peter Schofield said
the scheme’s profile was too low and that lawyers were nervous because they
were unfamiliar with it.

However, he said employers were still interested in the tribunal alternative
because it of its confidentially.

l Acas is hoping to relaunch its individual arbitration scheme after it
attracted just 41 cases in its first three years of operation.

The service, launched in 2000, was supposed to reduce the pressure on the
Employment Tribunal system by offering a faster, confidential and less
legalistic alternative.

However, the majority of people continue to go through the courts and the
scheme has failed to attract employers or lawyers.

Acas strategy director Andrew Wareing said he hoped the system would be
relaunched across the UK once legal problems in Scotland were resolved.

He said that Acas had not been able to relaunch the scheme yet because it
had been caught up in legal problems around its compatibility with Scottish
law.

Wareing defended the overall concept of the system and blamed a lack of
awareness for the low take-up among employers.

"The concept is not flawed and it hasn’t been sold enough. Starting
from scratch is always a long process. We need to raise awareness of the system
because employers always fear a step into the unknown," he said.

He stressed that in the 41 cases that have taken place, user satisfaction
was very high and that its speed and confidentiality was still attractive to
employers.

Cases dealt with by the system are not subject to public record and its
findings are private, legally binding and not subject to appeal.

CIPD employee relations expert Mike Emmott blamed an "inertia of
interest" from employers and lawyers for its failure to catch on.

Engineering Employers Federation head of legal affairs Peter Schofield said
the scheme’s profile was too low and that lawyers were nervous because they
were unfamiliar with it.

However, he said employers were still interested in the tribunal alternative
because it of its confidentially.

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