Brent Council has experienced a dramatic drop in the number of employment tribunals it fights by setting up a review panel to determine the “lessons learned” from cases.
Tribunal numbers peaked at 33 back in 2000, but have now fallen to a low of just eight cases.
The council, which employs about 6,000 staff, launched an Employment Tribunal Review Panel, made up of senior executives and legal experts, to tackle the problem.
The group, headed by Pat Keating, the council’s employee relations manager, initially met every two months to discuss ongoing cases, but now only needs to meet quarterly.
“Employment tribunals are public events and an indication that staff relations are not stable and people are unhappy,” Keating said. “They show that your policies are not working, so people are seeking justice outside the organisation.”
One of the key principles is that the panel ensures lessons learned from previous cases are communicated across the council. “While we will never be perfect, the aim is to not make the same mistakes again. This helps us focus on getting it right,” she said.
The fall in cases has also been supported by ensuring employee relations is championed by a senior executive, giving it a higher profile.
Last month, the council appointed four new strategic HR managers as part of an overhaul of the function. They will spearhead Brent’s move to an HR business partner model.
Brent’s HR strategy