The Commission is currently staffed by almost 170 permanent employees who are civil servants and part of the staffing establishment of the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation. They are supplemented by a further 37 Adjudication Officers who are contracted by the Minister to assist the Adjudication Service on a case-by-case basis.
Key outcomes 2017
The publication points to many successes in 2017, which built on the achievements of 2016. These successes included:
- corporate competence through internal capacity building was developed further which was aimed at widening and deepening staff skills sets to enhance and broaden service delivery standards and supply
- the first public regional office of the WRC was opened
- a bespoke business-integrated communications strategy was developed and rolled out that has already added significant value in terms of pre and post-activity publicity, and raised awareness of the WRC role in the industrial relations and employment rights landscape
- During 2017, some three quarters of a million workers were covered by conciliation agreements and the Sectoral Employment Order process.
Key Goals for 2018
Extension of Access Rights
It is anticipated that at some point during 2018 all members of An Garda Siochana will come within the ambit of the WRC. It is accepted that this initiative will place significant resource strain on all WRC Divisions. The WRC will work with all parties to ensure that the transition to the WRC services is managed appropriately and all parties have the capability to engage with the process efficiently and effectively.
Enhanced Outreach Programme
Over the course of 2017, the WRC developed a bespoke communications strategy to be rolled out incrementally over 2017 and 2018. During 2018, the WRC will develop further its expertise and activities in this area to ensure the success of the Outreach Programme of providing services to persons who may have limited knowledge of their rights and the associated WRC services, assisting persons who may have difficulty accessing the WRC services, as well as providing information and data that will be of assistance to employers, employees, their representatives and employment rights and industrial relations practitioners generally.
WRC Service Delivery
Over the course of 2017, the WRC carried out over 150 face to face pre-adjudication mediations, significantly more than in 2016. In addition to extending the provision of mediation in regions during 2018, the WRC will promote its mediation services more broadly.
The WRC will work with the Adjudication Officers to ensure that all decisions are robust and presented in a consistent manner in terms of text and lay out. In addition, further progress will be made in terms of the time-frame between the receipt of a complaint to the issuing of the relevant decision. By the end of 2018, the target time-frame for decisions will be less than 6 months where all procedures have been followed correctly.
The Conciliation Service success rate in terms of dispute resolution averages over 80 per cent per annum and this will be the target for 2018. The WRC will also continue to engage with stakeholders in relation to the discussions around the future absorption of other civil and public servants into the WRC framework.
Inspection and Reinforcement
By the end of October, the Inspection and Enforcement Division had concluded just under 4,000 inspections. This level of inspection activity will continue in 2018. In addition, the Division will continue its operations in the Fisheries sector which it initiated in 2016. It will also complete the Equine sector campaign which began in 2017 and will initiate a specific campaign in the agriculture sector placing emphasis on transient employment in the “Market Garden” sub-sector.
The Advisory Service will identify possible improvements that could be made to Codes of Practice in relation to Bullying and Harassment.
From early 2018, a reshaped WRC website will deliver simpler and enhanced user experience and will play a key role in the WRC Communications and Outreach Strategies.
Inspection, Conciliation and Mediation Business Applications Support Platforms
During 2018, the Commission will complete the roll out of a new ICT business application to support inspection and compliance operations.
Cross-functional Multidisciplinary Service Delivery
The WRC will ensure that the staffing resource has the capability to work across its service functions to deliver bespoke company and/or sector interventions and assistance, and to ensure that the WRC has the ability to respond quickly to shifting demand patterns across the full range of its activities.
Due to premises lay-out or size, the full range of services in terms of adjudication, conciliation and mediation is currently only available in the Dublin and Sligo Offices. It is the ambition of the WRC to work with the Office of Public Works to adapt current premises or to locate suitable alternative accommodation so as to provide the full range of services in Shannon and Cork by the end of 2018, and in Carlow by the following year.
The primary objective in 2018, assisted by the assignment of a legal researcher, will be to maintain and improve the legal services generally, and to ensure that all staff and Adjudication Officers are kept up to date on legal developments generally. In addition, the Division will prepare and publish during 2018, analyses of employment rights complaints and WRC decisions with particular regard to equality and equal status cases.
The Corporate Division will oversee the majority of goals outlined for 2018, including co-ordinating the implementation of the General Data Protection Regulations to ensure full compliance by May.
For the full Work Programme, please see here.
Tuesday, 27 March 2018