The Taylor Review of Modern Working Practices, commissioned by the Government and led by Matthew Taylor has published its recommendations. Pinsent Masons’ Diane Nicol provides the inside story.

Diane Nicol, Pinsent Masons
Diane Nicol

I was fortunate enough to be one of the four Review team members involved in the process, engaging with a wide range of stakeholders across the UK along the way to understand the complex range of challenges facing all stakeholders.

One of the most inspiring aspects of this work was to see so many fantastic examples out there of how employers and workforces are engaging with one another – and the communities in which they operate – in new and innovative ways in pursuit of shared benefit.

The Review has subsequently made a number of significant recommendations, some of which should be achievable in the short term (over the next year or so) and others which require longer term strategic shifts.

The thrust of the Review is that the current UK framework operates pretty well in terms of flexibility for employers, engagers and workers and we should not therefore throw the baby out with the bath water.

However, the over-arching goal for the UK must be “fair and decent work for all” with a focus on the quality of work and addressing exploitation where it exists, in addition to the overall level of employment and productivity.

To achieve this, and address changing and emerging business models, there are areas of employment law which do need clarification and improvement. The law needs to be able to keep pace with the modern world and address exploitation, enhance engagement between employers, engagers and workers, and promote awareness of their rights and responsibilities.

The Prime Minister has personally endorsed the Report and has said that she will be reviewing the recommendations over the summer recess, and she has invited constructive feedback on the report “cross-party”.

While accepting the recommendations  will be a political decision, it would certainly help promote change if employers, employees and other stakeholders got behind the over-arching theme of the Review which is Good Work.

There are so many fantastic examples out there of how employers and employees are engaging with one another for mutual benefit. By far the vast majority of people we spoke to are keen to do the right thing. And there are initiatives which organisations can quickly and easily start to undertake now in order to adopt a best-practice approach well before any legislation is passed.

Certainly a review of workforce composition and mechanisms for employee engagement would be a good starting point for employers to help them get ahead of the game.

Acting early to engage with the proposed changes will not only support a seamless transition into any reforms, but indeed provide a commercial and competitive advantage in the meantime.

In any event, I would encourage all those with an interest to contribute to the consultation on the key proposals expected to commence sometime in the autumn.

Diane Nicol is a partner at Pinsent Masons