Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (Acas) Council Member x10

Body: Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (Acas)
Appointing Department: Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Sector: Business, Finance & Skills
Location: London, virtual for the foreseeable future
Number of Vacancies: 10
Remuneration: Annual remuneration of £1,695 in additional to £172 for each day of attendance plus reasonable travel and subsistence expenses
Time Requirements: On average three days per month with at least six Council meetings per year.


An announcement has been made on the outcome of this appointment.

Matthew Percival, Roy Rickhuss, Ijeoma Omambala and Simon Lewis have been appointed as Acas Council Members for a period of three years.

Campaign Timeline

  • Competition Launched


  • Closed for Applications


  • Panel Sift

    W/C 8/2/2021. Please note this is subject to change.

  • Final Interview Date

    W/C 22/3/2021. Please note this is subject to change.

  • Announcement

    13/01/2022 at 08:00


Assessment Panel

Vacancy Description

The Organisation 

Acas is Britain’s leading specialist on workplace relations and is at the forefront of supporting employers and employees to build better working lives for all. Acas has a rich history of employment relations coupled with deep knowledge and expertise which underpin its success. 

Acas has its origins in the 19th century when the government set up a voluntary conciliation and arbitration service. It remained under the government control for some time and had several incarnations, becoming the Industrial Relations Service in 1960 and the Conciliation and Advisory Service in 1972.  

Legislation in the mid-seventies brought key developments. The Employment Protection Act of 1975 established the Advisory Conciliation and Arbitration Service, Acas, which was launched in 1976. Unlike its predecessors Acas was, and remains, independent of government control with a tri-partite Council to direct it.  

Acas support good relationships between employers and employees which are key to business success. When things go wrong Acas help by providing conciliation to resolve workplace disputes, and they offer free and impartial information and advice to employers and employees on all aspects of workplace relations and employment law. Acas also deliver high quality training and tailored advice to employers. Their expertise is based on millions of contacts with employers and employees each year.  

Vision and Ambitions 

Acas’ vision is to make working life better for everyone in Great Britain. It has ambitions which drive activity to deliver the vision by:  

  • Promoting good practice in the workplace, 
  • Resolving workplace disputes, 
  • Helping employers to be compliant with regulation, 
  • Advising employees and workers to understand their rights, 
  • Using insight to inform policy. 

Acas’ Services 

Acas are Britain’s workplace experts, and their work is delivered through three strategic aims: 

  1. Advising on good practice in everyday working life 

Acas provides expert advice, guidance and training on workplace relations and employment law. It does this through a range of online, telephone and face-to-face services to both employers and employees.Page Break 

  1. Resolving disputes and managing conflict at work 

Acas is at the forefront of resolving workplace disputes with its statutory conciliation service, which prevents most claims from reaching employment tribunal. It also offers conciliation services for collective disputes, often preventing industrial action and enabling a constructive route out of difficult situations, for example British Airways and Northern Rail in recent months. These services offer value for money to the taxpayer and reduce the harmful impact of workplace disputes. 

  1. Influencing employment policy and debate 

Acas uses its strategic voice to influence the world of work and workplace relations, both regionally and nationally. It engages audiences through a range of channels including policy papers and events to shape thinking and provide independent expert commentary on emerging trends. It offers its insight to government and other stakeholders on all aspects of workplace relations. 

Acas Council 

The Acas Council was established by statute to set the strategic direction and priorities of Acas and to safeguard its independence. The Acas Council consists of a Chair and eleven members who represent employer, worker, or independent interests; all are appointed by the Secretary of State for Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy (BEIS). 

The Council also makes sure that Acas: 

  • Properly safeguards public funds and works as economically, efficiently, and effectively as possible, 
  • Responds promptly to public requests for information, 
  • Operates sound environmental policies and practices, 
  • Observes high standards of corporate governance at all times. 

The current Chair is Clare Chapman.  

The current Council members are: 

  • Neil Carberry (Chief Executive of the Recruitment and Employment Confederation); 
  • Mike Clancy (General Secretary and Chief Executive of Prospect); 
  • Anne Davies (Dean of Oxford Faculty of Law and Professor of Law & Public Policy); 
  • Mike Gooddie (Director of Human Resources for the Canal & River Trust); 
  • Jayne Haines (Senior Vice President of Talent, Learning & Organisation Development at GSK); 
  • Sally Hunt (former General Secretary of the University and College Union); 
  • Susan Jordan (former Vice President of HR at Retails UK and Ireland); 
  • Christina McAnea (Assistant General Secretary at Unison); 
  • Jane McNeill QC (member and former Head of Old Square Chambers); 
  • Paul Nowak (Deputy General Secretary of the Trades Union Congress); 
  • Ben Summerskill (Director of the Criminal Justice Alliance). 

(some terms in office end in 2020) 

The Acas Council meets every two months and is responsible for setting the overall strategic direction of Acas, for determining its priorities and for overseeing the development of Codes of Practice and guidance on workplace matters. 

Acas is staffed by Civil Servants and is led by a full-time Chief Executive, Susan Clews. Susan chairs the Executive Board and is responsible for the running of Acas’ operations in line with Council strategy, and she is also Acas’ Accounting Officer. Further information about Acas can be found at 

The Role 

As a member of the Acas Council you will provide strategic guidance on the work of Acas. You will work closely with the Chair of Acas and the Chief Executive ensuring the Council and executive operate effectively and with propriety. Members assist the Chair in ensuring the Council holds the executive to account for delivery against its strategic and business plans and for the efficient discharge of its statutory functions. 

You will contribute to the development of Acas policy and guidance, which will inform our work with employers, employees, and government. Your experience will be used to tailor responses to public consultations, Codes of Practice, and how Acas respond to the changing world of work. 

You will be uniquely placed to support Acas’ agenda to influence and engage with key industries across Great Britain. This may involve speaking engagements on behalf of Acas and some travel. There will be opportunities to join working groups and round-table discussions on topical workplace challenges, for example Non-disclosure agreements and zero hours contracts. 

The Council is a tri-partite body with representation of employers, workers, and independents. A breakdown of these is below. For all roles we are seeking candidates who meet the essential and desirable criteria set out below. 

Employer Council Member Role 

Candidates for the employer roles should have a good understanding of employment issues facing employers/businesses in the UK. Candidates are expected to have held or currently hold a senior leadership position with an employer or are a senior member of an employer association. Candidates must demonstrate business acumen and experience of having led strategic change in the workplace.  

Worker Council Member Role 

Candidates for the worker role should have a sound understanding of issues facing workers in the UK. Candidates are expected to hold a senior leadership position within a trade union or an employee representative body. Candidates must demonstrate a clear understanding of employee relations within the working environment.  

Independent Council Member Role 

For the independent member (neither an employer nor employee representative) we are looking for people who have a demonstrable understanding of labour market issues, employment relations or workplace good practice.  

Person Specification

The ideal candidate will have interest in and experience of work in the field of employment relations, workplace policy and dispute resolution. They will be passionate about bringing a positive change to working life across Great Britain. They will demonstrate understanding around the ambitions of the organisation and share insight on how Acas can grow and develop to meet its goals. 

Candidates should be willing to work alongside colleagues from a variety of backgrounds and provide constructive challenge when required. Candidates should be driven and open to supporting Acas as and when priorities change. Other essential and desirable criteria are listed below: 

Essential criteria: 

  • Ability to work at senior leadership level. 
  • Strategic thinking in an organisational context. 
  • Ability to contribute to consensus decision making on complex issues while maintaining independence of mind. 
  • An understanding of issues relating to employment relations and good workplace practice.
  • Ability to build constructive and effective relationships. 
  • Excellent communication skills, both verbal and written.
  • Personal commitment to improving workplace relations practice and effectiveness. 


  • A solid understanding of corporate governance, financial control and reporting, performance, and delivery. 
  • Proven experience of audit and risk management. 

Additional Information

The time commitment for these roles includes attendance at an external planning and review event and members are also expected to attend other sub-committees as required. Sub-committees meet at least three times a year. In addition to attendance at these meetings, Council members are expected to participate in sub-groups which advise on the production of new codes of practice and employment relations guidance issued by Acas.

If you are shortlisted for the role, due diligence will be carried out and your referees are likely to be contacted.

You will be asked to prepare some identification documents if you are invited to an interview – further information will be provided at that stage.

Interviews are likely to be held remotely via Microsoft Teams.

Further information can be found in the applicant pack.

How to Apply

For us to progress your application, you must submit both of the following documents before 11pm on 10 January 2021. You must submit:  

  • a curriculum vitae; and  
  • a supporting statement  

by email, with the subject “Acas Council Members” to:  

If you do not submit both a curriculum vitae and a supporting statement by 11pm on 10 January 2021, your application will not be progressed any further. Late applications will not be accepted. 

We also ask that you complete an online application form, including diversity monitoring information,which can be found here. 

Your curriculum vitae and supporting statement must each be no longer than two pages in length. 

If you submit documents which are longer than two pages, any information not contained within the first two pages of each document will be disregarded and will not be seen by the assessment panel.   

Please specify when sending your application which role(s) you would like to be considered for.

Acas Council Members Candidate Pack Dec 2020
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