CIPD against governement plans to merge tribunals

Plans to merge the employment tribunal system with at least 10 other
tribunal areas have been opposed by the Chartered Institute of Personnel
Development (CIPD).

Under the proposals revealed in last week’s edition of Personnel Today, all
central government tribunals will be brought under the control of the Lord
Chancellor’s department in a bid to improve efficiency.

However, the CIPD’s employee relations advisor Mike Emmott believes the
proposals, which would bring employment together with other tribunal categories
such as pensions, immigration and criminal injuries compensation, will be

Emmott is concerned the move to unify the service could dilute the level of
expertise within the employment tribunal system, and he is not convinced that
it will reduce red tape.

"If it ain’t broke don’t fix it. The system as it stands has the
confidence of both the employers and the unions. Everybody thinks that the
volume of tribunals is a problem, but I think there is a belief that the
tribunal system deals fairly with the issues that it deals with," he said.

"The system works and it has the respect of the parties that use it. I
would be concerned that over time, the move to unify the service with other
administrative tribunals would make it more legalistic and could undermine

Emmott said the employment tribunal system does not sit well with the other
tribunals due to its scope, which ranges from workplace grievance procedures,
to conciliation and mediation by Acas.

"Merging organisations without clarity of purpose is a recipe for
inefficiency," he said.

By Ben Willmott

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