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January newsletter; how up to date are you with employment law?


One of the issues that we often come across when carrying out board advisory work is the concern that directors feel that they or their organisations are exposed to unexpected legal challenge. It is not possible for us all to be experts in the many aspects of our businesses that might face a challenge and, of course, early recourse to professional legal advice is always recommended. However, it is incumbent on us, as directors, to have a basic understanding of the legislative and regulatory jurisdictions that affect our business and to ensure that there is an appropriate corporate governance framework and sufficient expertise within the executive team to anticipate and deal effectively with our legal obligations. As we all know “ignorance of the law is no excuse” and the cost of non-compliance can be damaging both on a personal and a corporate level.

One the key areas of legal exposure is in respect of Employment Law and the obligations of all businesses are wide-ranging and ever-increasing. The costs of a legal challenge in this area, even if successfully defended, can be huge. It is not just monetary cost either, the time commitment, disruption to staff relations and damaged reputation are all real issues with, potentially, very damaging implications.

We at BEL always promote the establishment of effective governance and training procedures and if we believe a client does not have appropriate legal support systems and expertise in place, we will always recommend that action is taken. The action might take many forms, anything from a recruitment solution to an ongoing in-house training programme. Director development programmes should always have an element that enables them to stay abreast of the legal and regulatory developments that are likely to affect the business; this is particularly the case for non-executive directors who do not always benefit from the corporate systems that support their executive colleagues.

We have long recognised and appreciated the benefit of training and development as part of our consultancy and support to clients. The majority of our clients also consider training opportunities for their directors and employees to be vital, even more so in a tight economic climate when pay freezes mean that staff expectations regarding alternative benefits, such as their personal development, are increased. Retention of key employees may hinge on such benefits.

Employment law training for directors, executives, managers, HR teams and other relevant staff can reduce the risks of successful (and unsuccessful) Employment Tribunal claims and the consequent damage to reputation by enhancing good management practice. It may also be able to reduce the reliance on external resource due to a more confident and skilled workforce.

There are important benefits for your organisation too, such as the creation of a more effective and productive workforce. This type of training will assist with personal development but also has other benefits: the development of the capability and confidence for those who manage staff and the development of a positive and engaging work environment.


With all of this in mind, BEL has joined forces with specialist training organisation, Conker Training, to extend our range of services by the addition of a suite of employment training courses. Conker delivers training through its two directors, a former HR director and an employment lawyer. Their joint experience and knowledge ensures that the courses achieve the right balance between ensuring an understanding of what the law requires and providing practical HR input. The range of training courses and workshops we can provide cover:

·         Introduction to Employment Law (a 1 day Employment Law overview)

·         Managing Absence

·         Disciplinary and Grievance

·         Bullying and Harassment

·         Employment Contracts

·         Resourcing and Recruitment

·         Restructures and Redundancies

Workshops can be also delivered for specific business reasons to help identify problems and design solutions which are right for the business and compliant with employment law. Examples of this include:

·         The need to reduce costs in a business

·         How to design and implement performance management and appraisals

·         How to deal with a rise in staff absences

Our courses are flexible not just in terms of content, delegate numbers, and location (training can be delivered on site at your premises or offsite at a neutral venue) but also cost to ensure we can provide an efficient and effective training solution for you. With that in mind, some of our clients may prefer our “open courses” where delegates from a number of our clients may attend, allowing for a shared learning experience at extremely cost effective rates.

There is no doubt that our corporate and personal obligations under employment law will continue to provide a serious challenge for us and our businesses. Whilst we should never hesitate to take legal advice, the impact of ‘getting it wrong’ can be managed by appropriate training. The training services BEL now offers are practical and interactive, and can be tailored to meet your specific needs. These courses will help support clients to develop their workforces and their businesses and, importantly, will reduce the risk of damaging litigation.


If you would like further information, please contact Gary Cowdrill on

0870 720 3904 or at gary.cowdrill@board-evaluation.co