The Employment Tribunal System Taskforce, chaired by Janet Gaymer, has today published its report on reform of the employment tribunal system. The report was provided to the DTI and the Lord Chancellor.
The main recommendations are:
• establishing a high-level coordinating body to increase coherence amongst the regions, whose ambit would include IT strategy, research programmes, information for users, websites and complaint handling;
• greater emphasis on the prevention of disputes, including more involvement by ACAS;
• earlier disclosure of information by all parties, to help both sides understand if they have a case and enable better judicial case-handling techniques;
• improved infrastructure for ETs, including better IT links, appropriate resources for the workload, more training and more highly skilled administrative staff;
• generally more investment in the system
Other recommendations include:
• a review be undertaken into regulation of employment law advisers;
• a pilot scheme should be set up, piloting the concept of judicial assistants as used in the civil sector;
• the parties should be asked about their availability before a full hearing date is set;
• the time limit for the IT3 should be extended from 21 to 28 days - but should be enforced more rigorously;
• there should be better preparation for hearings before the case, including the chairman and lay members receiving papers in advance;
• the system of enforcing tribunal awards should be reviewed;
• a study should be undertaken to consider widening the jurisdiction of ETs to other employment-related claims;
• tribunal proceedings should be digitally recorded, so that a transcript may be produced in a cost-effective manner;
• the current register of applications should be terminated;
• stress counselling should be made available to those working in ETs.
Both a summary, and the full report, have been published on the internet.