Latest report on the uptake of the Early Conciliation procedure

In June's Law at Work we reviewed both some recent cases concerning the interpretation and enforcement of the new rules and the latest ACAS quarterly reports so far produced. Earlier this month ACAS released news of a report on the first year's statistics of the Early Conciliation procedure.

This latest report shows that the service has dealt with over 83,000 cases between April 2014 and March 2015. In three quarters of cases parties have been willing to talk about the issues which have created a better understanding of the dispute, assisting with a resolution either immediately or as the matter proceeds. During this first year 63% of notifications made to ACAS under the Early Conciliation procedure did not proceed to a tribunal claim either because employees decided not to take their matter further or because other settlement agreements were reached; a further 15% resulted in a COT3 settlement and 22% progressed to a tribunal claim. As ACAS conciliation remains available between lodging the claim and the tribunal hearing, more than half of the claims which did progress, then settled.

The recent report also highlighted some other advantages of the new procedure. Parties saved time compared to going to Tribunal. Claimants spent six hours on their dispute on average, rather than six hours on employment tribunal disputes. For employers the figures were five hours spent on a dispute rather than five days if it went to tribunal. Other benefits included the fact that 93% of claimants and representatives who had agreed a financial sum in settlement confirmed that they had been paid compared to a figure of only 63% where claimants had been given a financial award at tribunal.   

Restrictions on highly skilled migrants proposed

Prime Minister David Cameron has said during Prime Minister's Questions that the Migration Advisory Committee would consider restricting non EU work visas to specialists and those who can address “genuine skill shortages”.  He has also suggested that measures taken could include a “skills levy” on businesses that recruit foreign workers and increasing the salary threshold for a skilled worker.

Charlie Pring commented on the problems surrounding these proposals in Pay and Benefits Magazine.

FCA call for input into regulatory barriers to innovation in financial services sector

The Financial Conduct Authority has issued a Call for Input to help identify regulatory barriers to innovation in digital and mobile solutions for the financial services sector. Is the intensity of the compliance burden a barrier to entry? How would you prioritise the value of different aspects of regulatory protection to consumers? Is the FCA approval of senior management teams critical, as it is not something consumers can assess themselves?

The deadline for submission is 7 September 2015. If you have any ideas, you can send them directly to the FCA or, as Taylor Wessing will be making a submission, contact Caroline Bystrom orJonathan Rogers.

Global Data Hub: Employees and data: your greatest asset or your weakest link?

You can have a well thought out data protection strategy but if you do not have reliable employees who understand and can implement your policies, you remain at risk of suffering a potentially costly and embarrassing data breach. Recent high profile cases in the USA have highlighted what can happen when employees 'go rogue' or are simply unprepared to assist with data security.

This month, Global Data Hub looks at the importance of creating a culture of data protection and security compliance among employees, from the point of recruitment through to what you can do if the worst happens.