In response to the recommendations of the Employment Rights Review Group and following a process of extensive consultations with interested parties, a programme of action was agreed by Government to facilitate the simplification of procedures and provide greater ease of access for all users of the services of the employment rights bodies.
Following the Government decision, an Employment Rights Group comprising representatives of a small number of Government Departments, the Social Partners and the Employment Rights Bodies was established to consider the operational implications of implementing the terms of the Government decision.
The Employment Rights Group has already met on four occasions. A proposed meeting in April 2006 was deferred due to the demands made on some members of the group by the Social Partnership talks.
To date, discussions have taken place in the ERG on such matters as the new operating mandates of the ER bodies, the likely caseloads to be handled by the different bodies under new arrangements, including personnel resources, together with simplifying and streamlining procedures and improving the level of customer service in the bodies. In addition, the ERG is to examine the body of employment rights legislation with a view to harmonising redress procedures and consolidating the large corpus of legislation now in existence. Working Groups have been active in the individual bodies, examining procedures and documentation and considering issues arising in relation to the better delivery of service.
A number of issues emerging from the current Social Partnership talks overlap with the intended work programme of the ERG, with particular reference to compliance with employment rights legislation.