Today’s consultation paper contains a wealth of detail about the Government’s plans to encourage earlier resolution of workplace disputes in the hope of making business more confident about hiring people.

Some of the ideas (such as increasing the qualifying period for unfair dismissal to two years) have been extensively trailed, while others will come as more of a surprise. These include introducing a requirement to lodge details of the dispute with ACAS before commencing proceedings and imposing fines on employers who fail to comply.

Many will have been expecting to read concrete proposals for charging fees in employment tribunals, but details have been held back for a separate consultation exercise in the Spring. However the paper includes plenty of other ideas about streamlining the system, including allowing employment judges to sit alone when hearing unfair dismissal claims and introducing formal offers to settle to sit alongside the conciliation service currently provided by ACAS.