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New Chair for ACAS announced

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Trade and Industry Secretary Stephen Byers has announced the appointment of Rita Donaghy OBE as the new Chair of the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS) which aims to promote partnership in the workplace.

Welcoming the appointment Mr Byers said:

"As the Chair of ACAS, Rita Donaghy has an important role to play in making sure UK employment relations continue to improve and help employees, employers and the economy by keeping disputes to a minimum.

"To reinforce the capacity of Rita Donaghy and the ACAS Council to bring about change, I also propose to create a new full-time Chief Executive post. Rita Donaghy will lead work with the Council and my Department to take forward the proposals identified by last year's quinquennial review of ACAS. I have also asked her to address with the Employment Tribunal Service how ACAS and ETS can work together more closely to strengthen the system for resolution of individual employment disputes.

"Good employment relations are a key ingredient for a successful economy. The Government has introduced changes that have benefited both employees and employers, and increased transparency and understanding of employment law. These reforms mean that the institutions at the heart of employment relations must modernise and adapt to change.

"The Government is committed to developing partnership between employers and employees. ACAS plays an important role in that process."

Rita Donaghy said:

"ACAS has been in existence for 25 years. During that time much has changed in the field of employment relations and ACAS has had to adapt to different conditions. I look forward to continuing to ensure that ACAS remains responsive and relevant to employment relations over the coming years.

This is an exciting time for the service and I am delighted to have the opportunity to play a part in its future development."

Rita Donaghy is the 1999-2000 President of the Trade Union Congress (TUC) and a senior member and former Executive Committee member of the public sector union Unison.

She is also a member of the Low Pay Commission and the Equal Opportunities Commission Task Group on Equal Pay. She has also served on the National Adisory Committee on Employment of People with Disabilities.

The selection of Ms Donaghy was under an open selection process, and both the Director-General of the [CBI], Digby Jones, and General-Secretary of the [TUC], John Monks, were included in the selection panel.

Ms Donaghy's appointment will be for a five year term for three days a week on a salary of £53,810 a year

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