The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) is urging the Government to introduce a “wholesale culture change” of the employment tribunal system in a bid to cut both red tape and costs for organisations.
The independent employers’ organisation’s recent report, ‘The Right Balance – Delivering effective employment tribunals,’ included suggestions of how to implement the culture change. These included giving judges powers to shorten the length of employment tribunal hearings by disregarding less relevant evidence. The report also suggested that the Department for Business should be tasked with the management of the tribunal system, rather than the current Ministry of Justice.
With recent figures revealing an ever-increasing backlog of tribunal claims waiting to be heard and finalised, the average claim is now taking more than 18 months to process.
The CBI’s report goes on to argue that these delays are as a result of the tribunal system becoming “too much like courts” and argues that the focus should instead be on a swift and informal dispute resolution.
Katja Hall, Chief policy director at the CBI, said: “Despite a falling number of claims, the system is still taking too long to process them, as it has been for years. This is why tribunal reform is businesses’ main priority for change in employment law.
“We need wholesale culture change throughout the system, and that needs to start at the top with judges playing a greater role in questioning, discounting irrelevant evidence, and focusing on the facts at the heart of disputes,” Ms Hall added.
The CBI report went on to say that, in order to make the tribunal system more coherent, it was essential that it was brought “under one roof in the Department for Business,” which would ensure the system was able to “refocus on serving its customers – employers and employees.”