Compromise agreements, which are a vital tool in dispute resolution, come with some sensible safeguards. To be valid in compromising employment rights they must be in writing, set out the claims which are being compromised, and the employee must have received advice on the agreement’s terms and effect. The advice must come from (presently) a solicitor, barrister, Legal Executive, TU rep or advice centre worker. The advisor must be insured for the advice, and be independent from the employer. The proposal is to extend this to CIPD members, or in other words, qualified HR professionals.Â This is interesting,Â as oneÂ immediately wonders when this is likely to happen in practice. Some solicitors (for whom this can be profitable work they want to protect) have sneered that this could perhaps be a Saturday job. In truth, this suggested change is to be lauded and is ahead of its time. It’s no coincidence that CIPD have pushed for this change soon after MoJ regulation effectively endorses non-lawyer Claimant representatives in the tribunal.
The long-termÂ future of most employment law provision to Claimants is not through firms of solicitors, but instead (as I’ve blogged before) through multi-disciplinary teams owned more likely than not by insurance / bank backed teams. In organisations like this, a CIPD practitioner will frequently be indistinguishable from any other qualified representative. It’s an unpalatable truth for some, but is certainly the way forward, as anyone who has worked for the Croner / First Assist / Peninsula / Mentor type company can attest.
The full consultation document is here. It also covers some tribunal changes which I’ll blog about shortly.