Please find attached to this circular, the draft revised ACAS Discipline & Grievance Code, which will apply from April 2009 if agreed by the UK Parliament. The code will apply across Great Britain, i.e. England, Wales and Scotland.
The code provides basic practical guidance to employers, employees and their representatives, and sets out principles for handling disciplinary and grievance situations in the workplace. The code represents a worsened arrangement than currently applies. Employers are not obliged to follow the code, but tribunals take it into account when considering relevant cases. Tribunals will be able to adjust any awards by up to 25 per cent if an employer or employee unreasonably fails to follow any provision of the code. The revised code will be complimented by a non-statutory ACAS guide, providing more detailed good practice advice. Unlike the code, employment tribunals do not have to take account of the guidance booklet. Once the final version is available, it shall be provided to officials.
The drafting of the revised code of practice was one of a number of recommendations which came out of the Government review of workplace dispute resolution carried out last year. The FBU submitted a response to the subsequent consultation and a copy of that submission is attached for information.
Officials should bear in mind that although the ACAS guidance is to be changed there has been no change to the procedures in the Grey Book. It is not our intention to bring this to the national employers’ attention and officials are advised to adopt a similar position with local FRS employers.