We at Acas are saddened to learn of the death of Professor Frank Burchill OBE, one of our most esteemed arbitrators. Frank died in France on 18 July after a short illness.
Frank joined the Acas panel of arbitrators in 1976. Over the following years, he became one of our most respected dispute resolution practitioners. His reputation grew not only for the work he undertook for us but also for his activities in the wider employment and academic world. He was particularly associated with Keele University from 1967 to 2002.
During his time with us, he covered the whole range of industries. But it is fair to say that he will be remembered in particular for his work on pay review bodies, the print industry and the Fire Service.
When I joined the Central Arbitration Committee in 2001, the then re-launched CAC had a very distinguished list of deputy chairs – one of whom was Frank. He had been appointed to the CAC in April 2000 and eventually left them in 2009 having dealt with cases in several of their jurisdictions.
Frank left for Tasmania in 2009 for 3 years. Also that year, Frank was awarded an OBE in the Queen's Birthday Honours List for services to Acas. It was a fitting acknowledgement of the high regard in which he was held by us and, more importantly, his contribution to the world of work.
Frank will always be remembered for his dry sense of humour and relaxed manner. He seemed always to strike the right balance between formal and informal approaches depending on what was right in the circumstances. But behind the easy manner, there was also a bit of steel in the mix.
My most vivid recollection of Frank was when we were driving through Liverpool on a rainy Monday morning on our way to a mediation. Sat behind the wheel of a very large, recently acquired Audi, Frank proceeded to extoll, at some length, the virtues of his beloved Manchester United throughout the journey. I thought it unwise to mention that my loyalties lay with Liverpool FC. Needless to say, the day went off smoothly with Frank in his best, very assured form and a successful outcome duly achieved.
Those of us at Acas and elsewhere who knew and respected him, will miss him.