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Website URL : http://www.acas.org.uk/index.aspx?articleid=3343

Acas keeping employers on the right side of the law

Tuesday 31 May 2011

A quarter of employers (28 per cent) risk unwittingly breaching the law according to new research carried out by employment relations experts Acas.

The findings were revealed by a study of organisations that had used the Acas Model Workplace - a free online tool to help businesses identify and resolve problems at work. It showed that one in four of its users discovered they were not complying with the law thanks to the interactive resource.

Over half of all those surveyed (55 per cent) said they had already revised at least one policy or procedure as a result of using the Model Workplace whilst over half (54 per cent) had introduced, or planned to introduce, new policies or procedures.

Acas Chair Ed Sweeney said:

"The Model Workplace costs nothing to use but as our research shows it can save employers time, money and stress further down the line. It makes more sense to check your employment practices for free rather than fix them after an expensive mistake."

The study also found that:

  • 81 per cent of users were helped to identify areas for improvement in their organisation
  • 81 per cent of users were likely or very likely to recommend the Acas Model Workplace to others
  • 86 per cent found it easy or very easy to use.

The Acas Model Workplace helps employers assess how well they are managing their staff. It offers practical guidance on maintaining good employment relations and directs employers to other useful Acas resources to help them prevent potential problems.

The Model Workplace consists of ten key workplace topics, from equality and diversity to recruitment and managing change. Each topic contains multiple choice questions with Acas good practice advice available for each question. After completing a module, users are given a rating of red, amber or green, and advice based on that rating to help employers make improvements where needed.

"The Acas Model Workplace is a fantastic resource. I use it in my day to day job to check that the policies we have in place, and the way in which we handle things is correct and in line with the current legislation. It reassures me that we are working fairly and effectively with our staff.

"On a personal level it has been excellent to ensure my HR knowledge remains up to date so I know the advice I give the business is correct and accurate.

"I've got friends working at smaller businesses who don't have in-house professional HR support and have told them all about the Acas Model Workplace. They were impressed such an easy to understand and trustworthy resource was on hand for them to use."

Case study
Joanna Hart, Group HR Manager, Albatross Group of Companies

Notes for editors

  1. The Acas Model Workplace survey was sent to 1,276 registered users and a representative sample of 549 responses was received.
  2. The Acas Model Workplace www.acas.org.uk/modelworkplace is a free online diagnostic tool for businesses. Users need to install free software, Microsoft Silverlight, in order to use the tool.
  3. There are three ways of accessing the Acas Model Workplace:
    1. Logging in - Customers who have registered with the Acas Model Workplace previously, or who have registered with the Acas online booking service, will be able to log in to the tool by entering their email address and password
    2. Registering - Registration is essential if customers want their answers and feedback to be saved - so they can log back in to the tool at any time to view and update these. If you are already registered on the Acas website you don't need to re-register
    3. If customers do not wish to register, they can access the tool by filling out the questions in the 'Try it' section. If they do this, their answers and feedback will not be saved, and they will be unable to download PDFs of their module results. Customers who access the tool by filling out the Try It section will be able to register later if they wish
  4. The ten modules of good people management are recruitment, selection and induction, pay and reward, performance management, flexible working and work-life balance, equality and diversity, communication and involvement, employee representation, discipline and grievance, managing change; and key performance indicators in people management.
  5. Acas' aim is to improve businesses and working life through better employment relations. It provides information, advice, training and a range of services working with employers and employees to prevent or resolve problems and improve performance. It is an independent statutory body governed by a Council consisting of the Acas Chair and employer, trade union and independent members.

For media enquiries only please contact Matt Barker, Media and PR Manager on 020 7210 3924 or Lou Owen, Media and Marketing Officer on 020 7210 3920.