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Written Statements

Volume 568: debated on Friday 18 October 2013

Written Statements

Friday 18 October 2013

Business, Innovation and Skills

Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (Triennial Review)

On 7 March 2012 the former Minister for employment relations, consumer and postal affairs, my hon. Friend the Member for North Norfolk (Norman Lamb), announced through a written ministerial statement, a triennial review of the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS). I am now pleased to announce the completion of that review.

ACAS is an independent Crown non-departmental public body (NDPB), created by the Employment Protection Act 1975. It has a statutory duty to promote the improvement of industrial relations (set out in the Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992). ACAS’s overarching mission is

“to improve organisations and working lives through better employment relations”

and all of the services provided by ACAS are intended to promote good employment relations and ensure that workplace disputes are kept to a minimum.

The triennial review of ACAS concludes that the functions performed by ACAS are still required and that an Executive NDPB continues to be the most effective way of delivering these services. The review also looked at the governance arrangements for ACAS in line with guidance on good corporate governance set out by the Cabinet Office. The report makes some recommendations in this respect, which BIS and ACAS are in the process of implementing.

The Department will conduct a review with ACAS to identify opportunities for further efficiencies within the organisation. This should align with the existing BIS efficiency review and report by the end of the year.

The full report of the review of ACAS can be found on the website and copies have been placed in the Libraries of both Houses of Parliament.

Home Department

Inter-departmental Ministerial Group on Human Trafficking

The second annual report of the inter-departmental group on human trafficking is today being laid before Parliament.

The report is an assessment of the trends in human trafficking in the UK. It also sets out the work under way to reduce the threat posed by organised criminal gangs and steps taken to identify and protect victims.

The new Serious and Organised Crime Strategy sets out how the Government are targeting organised crime including human trafficking and the Home Secretary has indicated her intention to bring forward a modern slavery Bill to strengthen our response to this terrible crime.

Copies of the report are available in the Vote Office.


Heathrow Operational Freedoms Trial

I am announcing today the publication of reports by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) and Heathrow Airport Ltd (HAL) on the recent trial of operational freedoms at Heathrow airport.

The trial, which ended in February, permitted the more flexible use of the airport’s runways and departure routes, in specified circumstances, in order to help improve punctuality, reduce delay and enhance resilience.

I would like to thank both organisations, as well as NATS, the airport’s air traffic control services provider, for all of their hard work on the trial, as well as local stakeholders who engaged with the CAA and HAL to help shape the exercise.

These reports will be relevant to the Airports Commission’s work on short and medium-term options for the UK’s existing airport infrastructure. The commission’s interim report covering such options is due to be published at the end of the year and the Government have invited the commission to review the CAA and HAL reports to help inform its work in this area.

Once the interim report is published, the Government will consider the findings of the Airports Commission, CAA and HAL collectively to inform their next steps on the freedoms. In doing so, the Government will also have regard to any wider package of short and medium-term measures that might be recommended by the commission in its December report.