Clause 6

Part of Employment Bill [Lords] – in a Public Bill Committee at 12:00 pm on 14 October 2008.

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Photo of Michael Jabez Foster Michael Jabez Foster Labour, Hastings and Rye 12:00, 14 October 2008

I certainly would like to support the clause, because the time limits have been an impediment to settlement. The nature of industrial tribunal cases is that people do not concentrate their minds until the last moment, even when orders for directions are made. That is how people work, and perhaps we work like that sometimes. It is certainly the case between employers and employees and their representatives. Frequently the strength of the case is not known until statements have been interchanged as a result of an order for directions or something of that nature. If all the facts are on the table quite late in the proceedings, perhaps ACAS can play its greatest role at that point.

I acknowledge that some costs might be involved in reaching that stage that could have been dealt with earlier if ACAS had had an earlier intervention, so I hope that it will not abandon the possibility of early resolution because it has a longer period in which to do it. ACAS, too, might be subject to the ability to leave things until the last minute, which would be a detriment. If it can go in early and be there late, that would have a great effect.