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Model for improving co-ordination proposed

The VWP’s Employment Standards Group agreed that the VWP should pilot a model that proposes to improve

- better co-ordination and action between the stautory agencies

- extending the oportunities for employers to learn about employment legislative requirements and good parctice

- increasing the involvement and range of complaints on stautory infringements.

Although there are legal restrictions on stautory agencies sharing information with other bodies, including each other, the Group recognised that there are no such restrictions on them sharing information with complainants or with intermediary or representative agencies that have the specific authority to act on the complainant’s behalf. Nor are the restrictions as severe if no investigation has been started. 

This led the group to formulate a model where, if a complainant raises an issue that involves any of the statutory agencies through an intermediary body, the intermediary will co-ordinate a ‘pre-investigation’ hearing between the relevant statutory agencies. This could also involve the agencies agreeing to joint action as well as sharing information.  Because much of the approach that statutory agencies follow involves agencies coming to an agreement with, and trying to educate the employer, this could also involve ACAS - and thus could involve dealing with issues that are, currently, outside the scope of statutory enforcement agencies.

Such an approach could also mean an increased communication and on-going dialogue with complainants and front-line organisations and trade union branches leading to better quality information being provided and encouraging other workers to come forward.

The model is likely to need refinement in practice and it was, therefore, agreed that the VWP should act as the intermediary body through the lifetime of the pilot project. 


© Trades Union Congress 2007