2 May 2008 03:03 PM
ACAS launches consultation on revised discipline and grievance code

ADVISORY, CONCILIATION AND ARBITRATION SERVICE News Release issued by The Government News Network on 2 May 2008

Today Acas issues a revised code of practice on discipline and grievance for public consultation. The new code will ultimately aim to encourage businesses and individuals to resolve disputes internally, saving money and time.

The code has been revised to take into account the changes being made to workplace dispute resolution by the Employment Bill, currently before Parliament, particularly the removal of the statutory dismissal and discipline procedures.

Minister for Employment Relations, Pat McFadden, said:

"The new code is a key element in the Government's plans to streamline and simplify the dispute resolution system to the benefit of employers and employees.

"It will complement the removal of statutory measures by establishing flexible, principles-based guidance to help resolve disputes early."

Commenting on the launch of the draft code John Taylor, Acas Chief Executive said: "The revised Acas code on discipline and grievance is one of the first steps to simplify the dispute resolution process set out by the Michael Gibbons review.

The draft that we have issued for consultation today draws on Acas' wide experience of resolving workplace issues and will help employers and employees deal with disciplinary and grievance issues in a fair and effective way. The key is for business to act early to prevent any long-term consequences."

The revised code is considerably shorter than the existing code and provides basic practical guidance to employers, employees and their representatives and sets out principles for handling disciplinary and grievance situations in the workplace.

The decision to shorten the code was influenced by the fact that many responses to the Government consultation on the review of dispute resolution undertaken by Michael Gibbons called for a shorter more principles based code.

Copies of the draft code can be obtained from the Acas website at http://www.acas.org.uk/dandgcode and the deadline for comment is 25 July 2008.


Notes for editors

In 2006 the Government invited Michael Gibbons to review the options for simplifying and improving all aspects of employment dispute resolution, to make the system work better for employers and employees. Michael Gibbons reported on his review in early 2007 and building on the recommendations contained in his report the Government undertook a public consultation on measures to help resolve disputes successfully in the workplace. Following this public consultation the Government introduced an Employment Bill at the end of 2007 setting out a number of changes to the law relating to workplace dispute resolution including the repeal of the statutory dismissal and discipline procedures introduced in 2004.

In the Autumn of 2007 the Government asked Acas to revise its Code of Practice on disciplinary and Grievance Procedures. The draft revised code that Acas is now consulting on is divided into four main sections:
1) A foreword, which does not form part of the statutory code
2) An introduction setting out some key principles to be followed when handling disciplinary and grievance situations
3) A section on discipline
4) A section on grievances

The Government plans to introduce the changes in workplace dispute resolution in April 2009 and Acas anticipate the revised code will come into effect on the same date.

Acas National
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