The Government’s insistence that it understands the employment law pressures
on business do not ring true after an internal taskforce report claims it is
too happy to wield the regulatory sledgehammer.
The independent Better Regulation Taskforce, set up by the Cabinet Office,
said it could find little evidence that departments gave serious consideration
to non-regulatory options when considering how to achieve their policy
Ian Peters, chairman of the group which carried out the review, said:
"The taskforce believes there needs to be a constructive discussion about
all the options available to meet an employment policy objective, with
legislation as a last resort."
Departments should give better consideration to softer alternatives such as
economic instruments or codes of practice, he said.
The report also recommends a package of measures to help employers comply
with new regulations.
It said departments and agencies should attempt to group start dates of
changes together, rather than scattering them throughout the year so employers
must constantly be on the look out.
It also called for more accessible information and advice, including more
hands-on guidance on dealing with specific situations rather than complex
regulation descriptions, and one-to-one advice visits by Acas.
"We will keep up pressure for improvement," said taskforce
chairman David Arculus.
Employers group, the CBI, welcomed the report and the "sensible package
for delivering much needed improvement in guidance and advice".
But deputy director general John Cridland said the group "would be
deeply disappointed if the report turns out to be another false dawn.
"The Government must show it is capable of turning fine words into real