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Advisory booklet - Representation at work

Acas Advisory Booklet - Representation at work In all organisations employers and managers involve workers in various ways. In very small organisations this may simply entail employers giving workers information and asking them for views.

In larger organisations informing and consulting workers directly remains necessary but it also becomes important to have effective employment relations with worker representatives.

In addition there are a number of legal requirements for employers to provide information to and consult with worker representatives. Many larger organisations have formal processes for informing and consulting worker representatives, most commonly through some form of works council.

Worker representation may take many forms ranging from full trade union recognition to ad hoc groups.This booklet sets out the various ways of working with representatives and how those arrangements can be helped to work effectively. A summary of current legal requirements for employers to inform or consult worker representatives is also provided.

Small businesses

Small businesses generally do not need elaborate representational systems and the law recognises this in some cases by excluding them from requirements to consult with representatives. Where the law applies only to firms above a certain size this is indicated in bold type in the appendix to this booklet which gives an outline of legal aspects of employee representation.

Whether or not they are excluded from legal requirements it is good practice for firms of all sizes to have effective systems for providing information to and consulting with their employees. This booklet focuses on relations with employee representatives but further advice on all aspects of communication and consultation may be found in the Acas advisory booklet Employee communication and consultation.In addition small businesses which are successful may grow rapidly and it is worthwhile to plan employee representation arrangements before the legal thresholds are reached.

The booklet is available to download below. Alternatively, hard copies are available to order from our Publications site.