Dismissal claims spike ahead of job law change
Under the proposals, being introduced this summer, anyone looking to bring a claim for unfair dismissal will have to pay a £250 fee to make the claim and a further £950 if the case reaches court. Previously it was free to make a claim. Payouts for successful claims will also be capped at one year’s salary or £74,200, whichever is lower, as part of a raft of measures aimed at making it easier for firms to dismiss underperforming staff.
The Government said last year it would make it harder for former workers to bring unfair dismissal claims against their employers, in an attempt to free the overburdened tribunal system from “spurious” claims that have little or no chance of succeeding.
But the latest figures reveal a substantial increase in the number of claims. Some 15,300 claims were made in the quarter to September 2012, compared to 10,600 in the three months to June, statistics from the Tribunals Service reveal. Employment law firm EMW, which obtained the figures under Freedom of Information law, said sacked employees have “rushed” to bring a claim before the changes take effect. Read more
Louisa Peacock | The Telegraph | 15th April 2013
NHS ‘not sharing information on complaints about doctors’
A BBC investigation has revealed that some NHS trusts are not informing the GMC of medical staff who have made errors – even where some doctors have made repeated errors which endangered patient safety.
Responding to a freedom of information (FOI) request made to 163 NHS hospital trusts by BBC Radio 5 live Investigates, 13 said they had failed to inform the GMC about at least one doctor whose actions had resulted in more than one compensation payout, in the last five years. And at around half of those trusts, some doctors had moved to other NHS trusts which were not told about the previous complaints.
Several hospital trusts said they had compensated patients following repeated allegations made against a doctor, but had not referred the incidents to the GMC. Some doctors have been involved in up to six unreported incidents. Read more
Mark Gould | OnMedica | 15th April 2013
Charity Commission refuses to release Cup Trust correspondence
Margaret Hodge, chair of the Public Accounts Committee, says there is no ‘solid reason’ for regulator’s decision not to fully comply with request made by The Times under the Freedom of Information Act The Charity Commission has refused to release its correspondence with the charity the Cup Trust in response to a request under the Freedom of Information Act.
The commission was criticised by the Public Accounts Committee in March for not taking action against the Cup Trust, which turned over £176m in two years but gave only £55,000 to good causes and was accused of being a tax-avoidance mechanism.
The Times newspaper submitted an FOI request to the commission asking it to disclose details of its correspondence with the Cup Trust about tax avoidance. Read more
Abi Rimmer | Third Sector Online | 15th April 2013
AUSTRALIA: More government documents now available
The South Australian Government said it would make available more government-held information, some of it without the need for Freedom of Information (FoI) applications.
Premier Jay Weatherill also said the public would now have possible access to Cabinet documents between 10 and 20 years old through Freedom of Information, the policy replacing a 10-year rule.
“FoIs are not processed by Government, they’re processed by independent FoI officers according to law so we don’t get involved in that process,” he said. The Premier said the Government was striving for openness and accountability by making more information available. Read more
ABC News | 15th April 2013
USA: Harvard’s investigation fills in picture of researcher’s misdeeds
When a former stem cell researcher at the Joslin Diabetes Center was found to have committed scientific misconduct last year, the report on her wrongdoing was brief and succinct. An investigation had revealed that Shane Mayack reused images from unrelated experiments in two scientific papers, according to a note government authorities published in the Federal Register in August.
The full report of the internal Harvard Medical School investigation on which the federal authorities based their finding has now been released to the Globe through a Freedom of Information Act request.
It provides deeper insight into how this particular case of misconduct was detected and gives a sense of how the highly secretive investigations of serious, potentially career-ending allegations unfurl. Read more