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Employment: Dispute Resolution Review

Volume 687: debated on Thursday 7 December 2006

My right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

I am today announcing an expanded government review of the framework for settling disputes between employers and employees.

The review will be led by Michael Gibbons, a member of the Better Regulation Commission, acting in a personal capacity. It will involve businesses and employee representatives in considering all the options and working out how the Government can best deliver our common aim of faster and better dispute resolution. I have asked Mr Gibbons to make recommendations to me in the spring of 2007.

In March 2006 the Government published Success at Work, an employment law policy statement for this Parliament, in which they undertook to review the scope to reduce the number of cases going to employment tribunals, including a review of the Dispute Resolution Regulations 2004. The initial stages of that work have indicated that it is now appropriate to carry out a wider-ranging assessment of the ways in which the Government can help employers and individuals to resolve employment disputes as quickly as possible. There is evidence that changes to the various components of the current system could produce real benefits for businesses and individuals, by reducing the time, cost and stress involved in settling disputes.

I shall make a further statement to Parliament, reporting on the progress of this review, in due course.

I am also announcing today that Michael Gibbons will chair a new Practitioners' Panel, to help us ensure that the employment law simplification review's outcomes are rigorous and make a real difference for employers and employees. I shall confirm the other members of the panel shortly.