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Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (Triennial Review)

Volume 568: debated on Friday 18 October 2013

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.