Patience runs out over consultation on laws

Trade and Industry Secretary Stephen Byers was this week accused of backtracking on a pledge to meet employers to discuss progress on better regulation.

Byers had agreed to a meeting with Robbie Gilbert, chief executive of the Employers’ Forum on Statute and Practice, to discuss employers’ difficulties on consulting and implementing recent employment legislation (Personnel Today, 29 February). But the DTI this week disputed this. And in a letter to the EFSP, the minister says he does not regard a meeting as “appropriate” yet.

The refusal comes as the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development released a survey of 5,000 of its members showing two-thirds believe the Government gave employers insufficient time to respond to consultation. Mike Emmott, the institute’s adviser on employee relations, said, “Our survey shows that significant changes are needed in the way the Government consults on and implements new employment legislation.”

The CIPD survey backs the better regulation campaign led by Personnel Today and the EFSP which calls for:

• More time for employers to respond to consultation

• Longer lead time to put regulations into effect

• Clear guidance to be issued with the regulations.

Gilbert said, “Given the findings of the CIPD survey it seems a singularly ill-advised moment to turn down a meeting. One appreciates that the DTI is a busy department, but even if Mr Byers is preoccupied with other issues, there are a number of junior ministers who could meet with practitioners on a more regular basis.”

He added, “I am glad to hear the CIPD is backing our campaign. The problem is that when legislation is not properly consulted on, it means it will have to be revisited. It is a never-ending process.”

Comments are closed.