Online tribunal results scheme delayed by IT problems

Plans to publish employment tribunal judgments on the internet have been delayed, according to the government.

Tribunals minister Bridget Prentice said the Employment Tribunals Service had decided to shelve plans to make decisions available online until a new software system had been rolled out nationwide.

‘Caseflow’ is a computerised tribunal case management system designed to automatically upload judgments to the service’s website. The £3.8m system is due to be piloted in autumn 2008 with roll-out across regional tribunal offices dependent on the results of the pilot, Prentice said.

However, the timetable for implementation has already slipped after software developers under-estimated the effort required for the project. It was initially meant to be completed by spring 2007.

Critics have argued that publishing judgments online would make it easier for organisations to draw up a ‘worker’s blacklist’ to identify, and avoid hiring, so-called troublemakers who had previously brought a tribunal claim. Conversely, it would also allow jobseekers to pinpoint firms with a track record of discrimination or unreasonable working practices.

A TUC spokesman said it had no objections, in principle, to judgments being published online, as long as safeguards were put in place to prevent employers using the information to discriminate against job applicants.

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