Share Undreground Ducting to offer many services.

Why cant Cable TV providers share BT ducting or even sewers or lay cables next to water supply mains pipes?  Soon the Analog TV is to be phased out and Millions of homes with no cables have to go for unsightly Dishes and Ariels and lining the pockets of one main Satelite broadcaster.

 

Surely makes sense to make it law to share underground ducting which were layed at the cost of Tax payers in the days of Public ownership.

Why is this idea important?

Why cant Cable TV providers share BT ducting or even sewers or lay cables next to water supply mains pipes?  Soon the Analog TV is to be phased out and Millions of homes with no cables have to go for unsightly Dishes and Ariels and lining the pockets of one main Satelite broadcaster.

 

Surely makes sense to make it law to share underground ducting which were layed at the cost of Tax payers in the days of Public ownership.

Definition of Employee

 




A great deal of time and money is spent in the Courts in defining who is 'an employee' in order to decide whether an individual has statutory and/or contractual employment rights. Despite the vast body of case law that has developed around the definition contained in the Employment Rights Act 1996, the position is still unclear. Employers are seemingly able to deny people who work for them access to employment rights simply by calling them 'workers' and saying they are 'not obliged' to provide them with work. This right which is balanced in favour of employers has even been incorporated into agreements which are of no real benefit to the individuals concerned but must be signed in order to access work with that employer. The agreement is then used as evidence by the employer to show there is no ‘mutuality of obligation’; on their part to provide work or on the individual's part to accept work offered. In reality an individual may have no choice other than to sign such an agreement and in effect sign away their employment rights if they may otherwise be refused work. An example of this is in private sector healthcare where an individual can be employed through a 'bank' arrangement for many years on a regular, on-going basis without a break in continuity of service. They have some limited rights e.g. under Health and Safety and Working Time Regulations. However because their employer has designated them a 'bank worker' and not a 'bank employee' they accrue no redundancy or notice rights. Employers obviously see this as a cheap form of expendable labour whereas the individual may in every respect be as loyal, dedicated and worthy of compensation for losing his/her job as anyone designated an 'employee'.   A simple solution would be to amend the definition of an employee in the Employment Rights Act to include anyone who is directly employed by the employer to undertake work for that employer (i.e. not self-employed and not engaged through an agency or by a third party).  The individual would still need continuity of service in order to qualify, as employees do at present, for rights to claim unfair dismissal, redundancy payments etc. This change would not therefore prevent employers from taking on employees as and when required to meet short term needs or prevent individuals who genuinely want to work on a casual basis from doing so since in those latter cases the employees will still not accrue continuous service.   

Why is this idea important?

 




A great deal of time and money is spent in the Courts in defining who is 'an employee' in order to decide whether an individual has statutory and/or contractual employment rights. Despite the vast body of case law that has developed around the definition contained in the Employment Rights Act 1996, the position is still unclear. Employers are seemingly able to deny people who work for them access to employment rights simply by calling them 'workers' and saying they are 'not obliged' to provide them with work. This right which is balanced in favour of employers has even been incorporated into agreements which are of no real benefit to the individuals concerned but must be signed in order to access work with that employer. The agreement is then used as evidence by the employer to show there is no ‘mutuality of obligation’; on their part to provide work or on the individual's part to accept work offered. In reality an individual may have no choice other than to sign such an agreement and in effect sign away their employment rights if they may otherwise be refused work. An example of this is in private sector healthcare where an individual can be employed through a 'bank' arrangement for many years on a regular, on-going basis without a break in continuity of service. They have some limited rights e.g. under Health and Safety and Working Time Regulations. However because their employer has designated them a 'bank worker' and not a 'bank employee' they accrue no redundancy or notice rights. Employers obviously see this as a cheap form of expendable labour whereas the individual may in every respect be as loyal, dedicated and worthy of compensation for losing his/her job as anyone designated an 'employee'.   A simple solution would be to amend the definition of an employee in the Employment Rights Act to include anyone who is directly employed by the employer to undertake work for that employer (i.e. not self-employed and not engaged through an agency or by a third party).  The individual would still need continuity of service in order to qualify, as employees do at present, for rights to claim unfair dismissal, redundancy payments etc. This change would not therefore prevent employers from taking on employees as and when required to meet short term needs or prevent individuals who genuinely want to work on a casual basis from doing so since in those latter cases the employees will still not accrue continuous service.   

Bring common sense to music licensing

There is a small local theatr, wih a combined foyer/cafeteria/bar attached, where our society stages ligjht operatic concerts. We would like to have a cocktail pianist playing background music in the foyer before concerts while patrons arrive and during the interval.  We can't because only the theatre has a music license and not the adjacent foyer/cafeteria area.   The licensing regulaton may be well-intentioned but is too draconian and needs to be reviewed and common sense applied.

 

Why is this idea important?

There is a small local theatr, wih a combined foyer/cafeteria/bar attached, where our society stages ligjht operatic concerts. We would like to have a cocktail pianist playing background music in the foyer before concerts while patrons arrive and during the interval.  We can't because only the theatre has a music license and not the adjacent foyer/cafeteria area.   The licensing regulaton may be well-intentioned but is too draconian and needs to be reviewed and common sense applied.

 

planning application

we approached east lindsey borough council regarding a small paddock that we were offered to rent, to train our dogs for agility, we were informed that we would have to pay £125.00 for information and then apply for change of use and planning,that would have been more expense, for just  2 hours a week, but we could use it for 28 days without planning well would you believe it they would not accept us using the 2 hours accumulated to make up the 28 days no each time we used it would count as a day. there would be no change to the paddock no construction ???  

 

 

 

Why is this idea important?

we approached east lindsey borough council regarding a small paddock that we were offered to rent, to train our dogs for agility, we were informed that we would have to pay £125.00 for information and then apply for change of use and planning,that would have been more expense, for just  2 hours a week, but we could use it for 28 days without planning well would you believe it they would not accept us using the 2 hours accumulated to make up the 28 days no each time we used it would count as a day. there would be no change to the paddock no construction ???  

 

 

 

Complaint Regulations for Pharmacy

The Clinical Governance Framework requires all pharmacy contractors to have in place arrangements which comply with the requirements of the Local Authority Social Services and National Health Service Complaints (England) Regulations 2009, for the handling and consideration of any complaints made on or after 1st April 2009.  The regulations introduced a number of changes to the way that Health and Social Care services are handled, in order to provide complaints procedures that are consistent across all providers and NHS bodies, and deal with complaints efficiently and effectively.There are some differences between these requirements and those that existed in pharmacy before they came into force.

 

The new regulations introduce several major changes one of which is that, an ‘annual report’ about complaints must be published, made available to anyone who requests it, and be sent to the PCT.

Why is this idea important?

The Clinical Governance Framework requires all pharmacy contractors to have in place arrangements which comply with the requirements of the Local Authority Social Services and National Health Service Complaints (England) Regulations 2009, for the handling and consideration of any complaints made on or after 1st April 2009.  The regulations introduced a number of changes to the way that Health and Social Care services are handled, in order to provide complaints procedures that are consistent across all providers and NHS bodies, and deal with complaints efficiently and effectively.There are some differences between these requirements and those that existed in pharmacy before they came into force.

 

The new regulations introduce several major changes one of which is that, an ‘annual report’ about complaints must be published, made available to anyone who requests it, and be sent to the PCT.

Bank / Building Societies – Notification of Interest Rates

It should be mandatory for the saving institutions to mark clearly upon a customers statements both paper and inetrnet, the current rate of interest being paid and if it is gross or nett.

Also that they clearly mark on the statement under which license they are operating and who are the other banks under this license.

Why is this idea important?

It should be mandatory for the saving institutions to mark clearly upon a customers statements both paper and inetrnet, the current rate of interest being paid and if it is gross or nett.

Also that they clearly mark on the statement under which license they are operating and who are the other banks under this license.

Common Sense

Restore the principal of common sense to the law and public sector.

Here i give two examples. My Aunt is a social worker. A foster family took on an autistic child. They wanted to go away for a few days and applied for £135 from social services to get a helper in to look after the child. My aunt and her manager had to go to the local head office where a comitee of 12 senior social workers met to approve the £135. If they had not the child would have beeng handed back to social services care at the cost of thousands. The jouney and meeting took all morning wasting valuable time for both my aunt and her manager. On top of that the cost of the 12 senior social workers would have all added up to far more than £135 _ it is ridiculous ! Common sense would be that my aunts manager would be able to make a judgement and sign off £135 pounds. The whole probably cost over £1000 once all the time was added up!

The second example is a colleague saw some kids looking through his letter box. He ran after them catching one. When he caught one the other turned round and started kicking him. He of course pushed the kid away with no damage inflicted. The kids mother called the police and the colleague got a caution and was told he should have done nothing by the police! Do we live in a crazy world!? Common sense would be that the kids would be cautioned for tresspasing and the mother given a wrap on the knuckles for being a poor mum and having no control of her children!

Why is this idea important?

Restore the principal of common sense to the law and public sector.

Here i give two examples. My Aunt is a social worker. A foster family took on an autistic child. They wanted to go away for a few days and applied for £135 from social services to get a helper in to look after the child. My aunt and her manager had to go to the local head office where a comitee of 12 senior social workers met to approve the £135. If they had not the child would have beeng handed back to social services care at the cost of thousands. The jouney and meeting took all morning wasting valuable time for both my aunt and her manager. On top of that the cost of the 12 senior social workers would have all added up to far more than £135 _ it is ridiculous ! Common sense would be that my aunts manager would be able to make a judgement and sign off £135 pounds. The whole probably cost over £1000 once all the time was added up!

The second example is a colleague saw some kids looking through his letter box. He ran after them catching one. When he caught one the other turned round and started kicking him. He of course pushed the kid away with no damage inflicted. The kids mother called the police and the colleague got a caution and was told he should have done nothing by the police! Do we live in a crazy world!? Common sense would be that the kids would be cautioned for tresspasing and the mother given a wrap on the knuckles for being a poor mum and having no control of her children!

Value the achievement of all children.

If data has to be collected about the achievment of children in schools then include the achievement of all children, not just the A* to C grades. It should be A* to G, Entry Level, Apprenticeships, BTechs etc.

Celebrate the achievement of all our children. Value everyone in our society and there skills.  Success at all levels should be part of the data collected about school achievement. If your exam results are not considered important unless they are Grade A* to C will you bother trying? No. This is how children who get Grades D to G at GCSE feel. However, they often have other skills, which are not part of the data collection system. Our world needs builders, plumbers, carpenters, electricians, chefs, hairdressers, etc. in the same way as it needs academics. Raise the self esteem of children and they will achieve, constantly de value their achievements and they will not.

Why is this idea important?

If data has to be collected about the achievment of children in schools then include the achievement of all children, not just the A* to C grades. It should be A* to G, Entry Level, Apprenticeships, BTechs etc.

Celebrate the achievement of all our children. Value everyone in our society and there skills.  Success at all levels should be part of the data collected about school achievement. If your exam results are not considered important unless they are Grade A* to C will you bother trying? No. This is how children who get Grades D to G at GCSE feel. However, they often have other skills, which are not part of the data collection system. Our world needs builders, plumbers, carpenters, electricians, chefs, hairdressers, etc. in the same way as it needs academics. Raise the self esteem of children and they will achieve, constantly de value their achievements and they will not.

Allow people to pay council tax and local authority in kind

Ordinary people and perhaps small businesses could be permitted or encouraged to pay their council taxes and other, related charges wholely or partly in kind, perhaps by carrying out a certain amount of work for the authority.

This could be coupled to a local currency.

Why is this idea important?

Ordinary people and perhaps small businesses could be permitted or encouraged to pay their council taxes and other, related charges wholely or partly in kind, perhaps by carrying out a certain amount of work for the authority.

This could be coupled to a local currency.

Allow all unused registration plates to be sold by DVLA

I recently contacted DVLA to ask about purchasing the registration for my first car, which would have been long scrapped and was told that this was not possible.

It seems to me that a change in regulation would allow people like myself to purchase a cherished number, when otherwise I would not be interested in something like this.

Why is this idea important?

I recently contacted DVLA to ask about purchasing the registration for my first car, which would have been long scrapped and was told that this was not possible.

It seems to me that a change in regulation would allow people like myself to purchase a cherished number, when otherwise I would not be interested in something like this.

Housing Crisis in the rental section

Having recently received a state pension and living in social housing I find that there are only two options open to me. Renting privately is out of the question because of all the outlay, the 6 weeks deposit the months rent in advance, the agency fees, requisite before even moving in. In social housing  now there are so many bad neighbours, with addictions, criminal histories or generally just noisy at night and inconsiderate that the only other option is to move into sheltered housing. Why is there no other option for those who cannot afford to buy, please? Sheltered housing is more expensive due to the costs of supporting manager, etc, but if a person is fit, healthy and very independent, likes privacy and doesnt want a red pull cord in possibly every room or someone knocking on their door every day to check whether they are all right and still alive the truth is that there is simply NO ALTERNATIVE but to rent social housing with often unscrupulous housing organisations who have no respect for the law in what they do or say and bad neighbours who can make life a hell on Earth. There is a housing crisis in England which needs to be addressed by this government! Now, it may not be a popular subject due to the fact it is about the needs of the poorer members of society but poor people are not automatically bad people.

Why is this idea important?

Having recently received a state pension and living in social housing I find that there are only two options open to me. Renting privately is out of the question because of all the outlay, the 6 weeks deposit the months rent in advance, the agency fees, requisite before even moving in. In social housing  now there are so many bad neighbours, with addictions, criminal histories or generally just noisy at night and inconsiderate that the only other option is to move into sheltered housing. Why is there no other option for those who cannot afford to buy, please? Sheltered housing is more expensive due to the costs of supporting manager, etc, but if a person is fit, healthy and very independent, likes privacy and doesnt want a red pull cord in possibly every room or someone knocking on their door every day to check whether they are all right and still alive the truth is that there is simply NO ALTERNATIVE but to rent social housing with often unscrupulous housing organisations who have no respect for the law in what they do or say and bad neighbours who can make life a hell on Earth. There is a housing crisis in England which needs to be addressed by this government! Now, it may not be a popular subject due to the fact it is about the needs of the poorer members of society but poor people are not automatically bad people.

Bring back ‘British Rail’ or at least ‘one’ train company

Let's have one train company again for the whole country. Whether this be Govt led or privately led.

This would make travel so much easier, particularly when having to change trains on a journey with different companies.  Often if the connection is missed, the next  train won't accept the pre-bought ticket as it was for the earlier time (not the fault of the passenger).

Ticketing would be easier, administration would be easier, maintenance would be easier.

Why is this idea important?

Let's have one train company again for the whole country. Whether this be Govt led or privately led.

This would make travel so much easier, particularly when having to change trains on a journey with different companies.  Often if the connection is missed, the next  train won't accept the pre-bought ticket as it was for the earlier time (not the fault of the passenger).

Ticketing would be easier, administration would be easier, maintenance would be easier.

Health and Safety

Drea sir

Have the institure of health and safety (IOSH the chartered body) create a list of charatered safety practitioners from thier membership list. Only people on this list should be deemed competent to give advise to business on health and safety. This would dramatically cut down on the huge amount of money spend by businesses on actions resulting on poor quality H&S advise.

It would also help redress the balance between back in favour of H&S practitioners bringing tangable business benifits the contribute to the bottom line not detract from it.

I do it in my work place and is is not difficult. Our H&S budget halved last year and safety statistics on site have never been better.

Regads

Steve Brown 

Why is this idea important?

Drea sir

Have the institure of health and safety (IOSH the chartered body) create a list of charatered safety practitioners from thier membership list. Only people on this list should be deemed competent to give advise to business on health and safety. This would dramatically cut down on the huge amount of money spend by businesses on actions resulting on poor quality H&S advise.

It would also help redress the balance between back in favour of H&S practitioners bringing tangable business benifits the contribute to the bottom line not detract from it.

I do it in my work place and is is not difficult. Our H&S budget halved last year and safety statistics on site have never been better.

Regads

Steve Brown 

Joining the Metric World

The whole world has adopted the logical metric system of measurements for business, technical and everyday use; apart, that is, from the US and the UK – the last significant bastions of imperal irregularity.  Over forty years ago, the government of the day resolved that the UK should 'go metric', and we have still not achieved that objective. (The likes of Canada, Australia and New Zealand converted in about twelve years.)  Instead, we remain in the ludicrous position of selling, say, curtain materials by the metre that are so-many inches wide; buying petrol by the litre for vehicles assessed by how many miles they can do to the gallon; seeing packed meats and vegetables in the supermarket labelled 454 grams (i.e., the old lb.), and everywhere there is 'bi-lingual' pricing.  This is utterly crazy and costly.  We are existing in a nightmarish limbo.

Nostalgia is all right in its place but, like it or not, we really are not living in the 1950s.  The world has moved on and is still leaving us behind in so many spheres, of which our misplaced, ill-judged adherence to the past is both a symptom and the major cause.

Why is this idea important?

The whole world has adopted the logical metric system of measurements for business, technical and everyday use; apart, that is, from the US and the UK – the last significant bastions of imperal irregularity.  Over forty years ago, the government of the day resolved that the UK should 'go metric', and we have still not achieved that objective. (The likes of Canada, Australia and New Zealand converted in about twelve years.)  Instead, we remain in the ludicrous position of selling, say, curtain materials by the metre that are so-many inches wide; buying petrol by the litre for vehicles assessed by how many miles they can do to the gallon; seeing packed meats and vegetables in the supermarket labelled 454 grams (i.e., the old lb.), and everywhere there is 'bi-lingual' pricing.  This is utterly crazy and costly.  We are existing in a nightmarish limbo.

Nostalgia is all right in its place but, like it or not, we really are not living in the 1950s.  The world has moved on and is still leaving us behind in so many spheres, of which our misplaced, ill-judged adherence to the past is both a symptom and the major cause.

Automate the Dartford Tolls to the Congestion Charge Standard

No amount of government pledges on climate change are credible until the biggest man-made traffic jam in Europe is abolished.  Every day, thousands of cars are trapped in an impossed jam, pumping thousands of tons of Co2 into the atmosphere and losing industry and commerce millions.  I am not suggesting scrapping the charge but simply implementing the London congestion charge system.  After all, I am sure every number plate is read when a car uses the booths now.

There is no excuse for not changing this.  If the goverment is serious about the environment and wants the population to do its bit, then the goverment should lead by example and implement a system to remove this MAN MADE traffic jam that is a huge embarrassment on the largest artery from Europe to the UK.  No where else in Europe can be seen such a poor example of road management. Its time government stepped up to the plate and tackled this blot on the landscape.

 

 

Why is this idea important?

No amount of government pledges on climate change are credible until the biggest man-made traffic jam in Europe is abolished.  Every day, thousands of cars are trapped in an impossed jam, pumping thousands of tons of Co2 into the atmosphere and losing industry and commerce millions.  I am not suggesting scrapping the charge but simply implementing the London congestion charge system.  After all, I am sure every number plate is read when a car uses the booths now.

There is no excuse for not changing this.  If the goverment is serious about the environment and wants the population to do its bit, then the goverment should lead by example and implement a system to remove this MAN MADE traffic jam that is a huge embarrassment on the largest artery from Europe to the UK.  No where else in Europe can be seen such a poor example of road management. Its time government stepped up to the plate and tackled this blot on the landscape.

 

 

Scrap CQC registeration for Dental professionals

CQC registeration for dental professionals is a complete waste of time and Tax payers money. The CQC  process is nothing  but a complete duplication of regulatory measures that the dental profession already faces from the general dental council, the Primary care Trusts and the NHS dental services.

Dentists,  already over burdened with paper work just to meet the existing regulatory measures are  spending less and less clinical time with their patients. The looming thoughts of more paper work to satisfy duplicatory requirements of the CQC  is simlply senseless, demoralising and a waste of everybody's time and money. In these current economic climate Government money can be best spent elsewhere.

I have never been so demoralised in my career than now what with the ever increasing number of hoops to jump through and, all my collegues feel exactly thesame way. All we want to do is practice dentistry and provide quality services to our patients. We dont want to be overburdened by senseless paprwork that seem to be killing morale in the dental profession.

Why is this idea important?

CQC registeration for dental professionals is a complete waste of time and Tax payers money. The CQC  process is nothing  but a complete duplication of regulatory measures that the dental profession already faces from the general dental council, the Primary care Trusts and the NHS dental services.

Dentists,  already over burdened with paper work just to meet the existing regulatory measures are  spending less and less clinical time with their patients. The looming thoughts of more paper work to satisfy duplicatory requirements of the CQC  is simlply senseless, demoralising and a waste of everybody's time and money. In these current economic climate Government money can be best spent elsewhere.

I have never been so demoralised in my career than now what with the ever increasing number of hoops to jump through and, all my collegues feel exactly thesame way. All we want to do is practice dentistry and provide quality services to our patients. We dont want to be overburdened by senseless paprwork that seem to be killing morale in the dental profession.

minimum wage must be increased dramatically.

The minimum wage??? how can people be expected to work for the minimum wage with inflation and taxes running out of control. I can understand if a couple, both on minimum wage work 40 hrs a week, may just be able to run a family without any help or benefits. However for a lot, One partner may have to bring the children up, or simply be too ill to work. What happens then? There is a lot of slating people who are on benefits, who really would prefer to be self sufficient, But whats happened to the lower end of pay in the past 20 -25 years. It has stayed exactly the same year after year in a round about way. Nobody comments on this situation. When I was 16 my dad was a crane driver at the local wharf. On a quite week he used to bring home £350 after deductions. I seriously can't imagine a crane driver bringing home more than £250- £300 a week after deductions nowaday's.

Large companies and greedy managers have totally stuffed the UK workforce. This in my opinion is why so many disheartened people find it hard to face working, when they would still simply struggle. Not to mention the shift in workplace employee rights and the "self employed" status which is now creeping in, to undermine any existing rights. The whole system is a rip off. And this is purely why our once Great Britain is wallowing in its own mire of unemployment and dependancy of benefits.

Small companies may struggle to afford to employ more staff on say £8 per hour, but if thats the case then the business is obviously not doing that well. If you cant afford something then  you dont buy it… We as a nation should'nt expect people to suffer and not have holidays or pension simply because some brake pedals that are manufactured would loose their competitive margin. The higher rates of pay would afford people to spend more, leading to increased sales on something else. So that argument does'nt wash with me.

Finally, surely it would be cheaper for the government to directly subsidise pay. Instead of vast amounts of citizens relying purely on benefits to live, would'nt it be better to have them work for £5.80 an hour payed for my the company that employs them, and £2.20 from the government. Rather than it all come from the government coffers. I know this is pretty much what happens anyway, However that person can say I earn £8 an hour and I don't receive any benefits. This would boost moral and surely end up being cheaper for the goverment.

Why is this idea important?

The minimum wage??? how can people be expected to work for the minimum wage with inflation and taxes running out of control. I can understand if a couple, both on minimum wage work 40 hrs a week, may just be able to run a family without any help or benefits. However for a lot, One partner may have to bring the children up, or simply be too ill to work. What happens then? There is a lot of slating people who are on benefits, who really would prefer to be self sufficient, But whats happened to the lower end of pay in the past 20 -25 years. It has stayed exactly the same year after year in a round about way. Nobody comments on this situation. When I was 16 my dad was a crane driver at the local wharf. On a quite week he used to bring home £350 after deductions. I seriously can't imagine a crane driver bringing home more than £250- £300 a week after deductions nowaday's.

Large companies and greedy managers have totally stuffed the UK workforce. This in my opinion is why so many disheartened people find it hard to face working, when they would still simply struggle. Not to mention the shift in workplace employee rights and the "self employed" status which is now creeping in, to undermine any existing rights. The whole system is a rip off. And this is purely why our once Great Britain is wallowing in its own mire of unemployment and dependancy of benefits.

Small companies may struggle to afford to employ more staff on say £8 per hour, but if thats the case then the business is obviously not doing that well. If you cant afford something then  you dont buy it… We as a nation should'nt expect people to suffer and not have holidays or pension simply because some brake pedals that are manufactured would loose their competitive margin. The higher rates of pay would afford people to spend more, leading to increased sales on something else. So that argument does'nt wash with me.

Finally, surely it would be cheaper for the government to directly subsidise pay. Instead of vast amounts of citizens relying purely on benefits to live, would'nt it be better to have them work for £5.80 an hour payed for my the company that employs them, and £2.20 from the government. Rather than it all come from the government coffers. I know this is pretty much what happens anyway, However that person can say I earn £8 an hour and I don't receive any benefits. This would boost moral and surely end up being cheaper for the goverment.

Promote the use of mediation in workplace disputes.

According to data from BIS, CIPD and Acas, the cost of unresolved conflicts to UK companies is counted in terms of millions of pounds – this figure is increasing daily. Recent reforms to the dispute resolution regulations and the publication of the Gibbons Review (2007) promised a simplified approach to dispute resolution with greater emphasis on ADR. However, the promised reforms have not been delivered and employment relations in the UK is in the worst state that it has perhaps ever been. The recent spate of high profile disputes in BA, BAA and Royal, amongst others, is just the tip of a very sizeable iceberg.

The Dispute Resolution Regulations (2004) let the genie out of the bottle and, whatever steps have since been taken to repeal the regulations, it is now impossible to get the genie back in.

The DRR (2004) paradoxically encouraged grievances (many of them vexatious) from disgruntled employees.

The result?

Many companies are now in the grip of a grievance epidemic. Some managers are spending over a third of their working week managing conflicts and disputes in the workplace. Applications to tribunals are on the increase and the costs and the time spent by all parties is escalating. It is an extreme and unprecedented state of affairs.

Since April 2009, Acas have provided pre-claims conciliation (PCC) but this is no where near enough. PCC represents extremely bad value for money. PCC is a sticking plaster and it simply keeps cases out of court. PCC is not about restoring relationships – at worst, it removes parties’ rights to a meaningful and just resolution to their dispute.

According to Acas’ own data, of the 10,000 PCC,s carried out in the last financial year, 80% of the relationships had already broken down to the extent that the employment contract had been terminated. PCC offers little hope of a remedy – it is too little, too late.

Mediation, however, nips issues in the bud and restores professional, harmonious and constructive working relationships. Mediation is effective at an early stage dispute or in polarised, intransigent, and destructive workplace disputes.

Mediation secures a resolution in over 90% of cases and research is being carried out by the Civil Mediation Council (CMC) and BIS into the sustainability and effectiveness of mediation. I am leading a research team and we are working collaboratively with Swansea University to undertake long term research into the effectiveness and sustainability of workplace and employment mediation.

UK companies however are still unclear about mediation-, what it is; what it does; and what it can achieve.

To help reduce the costs of conflict to UK companies, to reduce the stress and the hassle associated with resolving disputes and to promote better employment relations at a time of major change, I propose that the new coalition Government undertakes the following:

  • Support the current research being undertaken by the CMC into the effectiveness of workplace mediation.
  • Promote the inclusion of mediation into company grievance and disciplinary policies.
  • Revisit the Gibbons review and consider mechanisms for incentivising the use of mediation.
  • Promote the wider use of mediation within contracts of employment.
  • Create an independent workplace and employment mediation helpline similar to the National Mediation Helpline. This should independent of Acas.
  • Work with the CMC to firm that organisation up as a regulatory authority to promote standards in mediation.
  • Train advisory bodies such as the Citizens Advice Bureau, Business Link and others in the fundamentals of mediation and encourage these bodies to promote mediation more widely.

Other areas that I feel are worthy of consideration include:

  • Promote the use of mediation through Government procurement procedures.
  • Promote the use of mediation as a means of resolving complaints against the police and other statutory agencies eg NHS complaints. For instance, I am setting up a mediation scheme for the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) to help resolve complaints at a local level. It is estimated that 40% of complaints against the MPS could be resolved through mediation thereby reducing time and costs.

I would be very happy to work with the coalition Government to develop this further and I would be interested to find out more about how and where ADR, and in particular mediation, fits into your plans.

Why is this idea important?

According to data from BIS, CIPD and Acas, the cost of unresolved conflicts to UK companies is counted in terms of millions of pounds – this figure is increasing daily. Recent reforms to the dispute resolution regulations and the publication of the Gibbons Review (2007) promised a simplified approach to dispute resolution with greater emphasis on ADR. However, the promised reforms have not been delivered and employment relations in the UK is in the worst state that it has perhaps ever been. The recent spate of high profile disputes in BA, BAA and Royal, amongst others, is just the tip of a very sizeable iceberg.

The Dispute Resolution Regulations (2004) let the genie out of the bottle and, whatever steps have since been taken to repeal the regulations, it is now impossible to get the genie back in.

The DRR (2004) paradoxically encouraged grievances (many of them vexatious) from disgruntled employees.

The result?

Many companies are now in the grip of a grievance epidemic. Some managers are spending over a third of their working week managing conflicts and disputes in the workplace. Applications to tribunals are on the increase and the costs and the time spent by all parties is escalating. It is an extreme and unprecedented state of affairs.

Since April 2009, Acas have provided pre-claims conciliation (PCC) but this is no where near enough. PCC represents extremely bad value for money. PCC is a sticking plaster and it simply keeps cases out of court. PCC is not about restoring relationships – at worst, it removes parties’ rights to a meaningful and just resolution to their dispute.

According to Acas’ own data, of the 10,000 PCC,s carried out in the last financial year, 80% of the relationships had already broken down to the extent that the employment contract had been terminated. PCC offers little hope of a remedy – it is too little, too late.

Mediation, however, nips issues in the bud and restores professional, harmonious and constructive working relationships. Mediation is effective at an early stage dispute or in polarised, intransigent, and destructive workplace disputes.

Mediation secures a resolution in over 90% of cases and research is being carried out by the Civil Mediation Council (CMC) and BIS into the sustainability and effectiveness of mediation. I am leading a research team and we are working collaboratively with Swansea University to undertake long term research into the effectiveness and sustainability of workplace and employment mediation.

UK companies however are still unclear about mediation-, what it is; what it does; and what it can achieve.

To help reduce the costs of conflict to UK companies, to reduce the stress and the hassle associated with resolving disputes and to promote better employment relations at a time of major change, I propose that the new coalition Government undertakes the following:

  • Support the current research being undertaken by the CMC into the effectiveness of workplace mediation.
  • Promote the inclusion of mediation into company grievance and disciplinary policies.
  • Revisit the Gibbons review and consider mechanisms for incentivising the use of mediation.
  • Promote the wider use of mediation within contracts of employment.
  • Create an independent workplace and employment mediation helpline similar to the National Mediation Helpline. This should independent of Acas.
  • Work with the CMC to firm that organisation up as a regulatory authority to promote standards in mediation.
  • Train advisory bodies such as the Citizens Advice Bureau, Business Link and others in the fundamentals of mediation and encourage these bodies to promote mediation more widely.

Other areas that I feel are worthy of consideration include:

  • Promote the use of mediation through Government procurement procedures.
  • Promote the use of mediation as a means of resolving complaints against the police and other statutory agencies eg NHS complaints. For instance, I am setting up a mediation scheme for the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) to help resolve complaints at a local level. It is estimated that 40% of complaints against the MPS could be resolved through mediation thereby reducing time and costs.

I would be very happy to work with the coalition Government to develop this further and I would be interested to find out more about how and where ADR, and in particular mediation, fits into your plans.

Allow NHS recycling

I don't understand how as a citizen we are encouraged to recycle cardboard,paper,plastic bottles etc.Yet the NHS is not able to do so and pays a huge sum each year for waste removal services?! The NHS trusts should be encouraged to recycle and get paid a fee pro rata as encouragement rather than paying waste companies to dispose of black,yellow, orange, grey  and any other colour of waste bag i've missed out. Also why can't any old PC's,printers etc be restored to factory settings and given to worthy clubs,charities,playgroups,schools etc rather than paying for them to destroyed because of the EU WEEE Directive ?

Why is this idea important?

I don't understand how as a citizen we are encouraged to recycle cardboard,paper,plastic bottles etc.Yet the NHS is not able to do so and pays a huge sum each year for waste removal services?! The NHS trusts should be encouraged to recycle and get paid a fee pro rata as encouragement rather than paying waste companies to dispose of black,yellow, orange, grey  and any other colour of waste bag i've missed out. Also why can't any old PC's,printers etc be restored to factory settings and given to worthy clubs,charities,playgroups,schools etc rather than paying for them to destroyed because of the EU WEEE Directive ?

Post Office To Compete On Equal Terms

One reason the Post Office is doing badly is that it cannot offer comptitive bulk deals to business customers the way that its private sector competitors do. It's rates are set by the regulator, its rate card published, and it sits there like a, er, sitting duck.

Second it cannot afford to modernise. It cannot borrow to do so. It's competitors can.

Thirs it's terms of business are defined by the regulator. Change is possible, but very difficult. Private business simply changes T&C on new contracts and offers existing customers enticements to sign up to the new T&Cs.

Want to change your delivery times, or targets for different mail types? Set a minimum charge for parcels? Offer personal delivery for big business, guaranteed so-many per day? Private business just does it. At best the Post Office takes 6 months to get regulator permission, at worst it gives up trying.

EITHER free the Post Office to compete on competitive terms,

OR free the Post Office from competition and having to balance its books.

Retain just these minimum rules

– at least one delivery per day to every front door in the UK, no matter how remote if they have post (and impose this on private letter carries too) 

– flat rate charge for letters and parcels across the entire UK for standard delivery

– standard delivery to be delivered in 2 days in 98% of cases

– standard delivery price to be set by the regulator (eg same as 2nd class now)

– daily collection from every letter box

And no others. No requirement for 1st class, recorded delivery, 2 deliveries a day, etc, etc. They might still do this, but it is not core, and they might charge competitive rates.

Why is this idea important?

One reason the Post Office is doing badly is that it cannot offer comptitive bulk deals to business customers the way that its private sector competitors do. It's rates are set by the regulator, its rate card published, and it sits there like a, er, sitting duck.

Second it cannot afford to modernise. It cannot borrow to do so. It's competitors can.

Thirs it's terms of business are defined by the regulator. Change is possible, but very difficult. Private business simply changes T&C on new contracts and offers existing customers enticements to sign up to the new T&Cs.

Want to change your delivery times, or targets for different mail types? Set a minimum charge for parcels? Offer personal delivery for big business, guaranteed so-many per day? Private business just does it. At best the Post Office takes 6 months to get regulator permission, at worst it gives up trying.

EITHER free the Post Office to compete on competitive terms,

OR free the Post Office from competition and having to balance its books.

Retain just these minimum rules

– at least one delivery per day to every front door in the UK, no matter how remote if they have post (and impose this on private letter carries too) 

– flat rate charge for letters and parcels across the entire UK for standard delivery

– standard delivery to be delivered in 2 days in 98% of cases

– standard delivery price to be set by the regulator (eg same as 2nd class now)

– daily collection from every letter box

And no others. No requirement for 1st class, recorded delivery, 2 deliveries a day, etc, etc. They might still do this, but it is not core, and they might charge competitive rates.