Roles and Responsibilities: Independent Sources of Advice - The Labour Relations Agency (Northern Ireland)
The Labour Relations Agency in Northern Ireland is an independent body, established under the Industrial Relations (Northern Ireland) Order 1976. It is a Non Departmental Public Body with responsibility for promoting the improvement of employment relations in Northern Ireland. The Agency is independent of Government and is funded mainly in the form of a grant from the Department of Employment and Learning.
The Agency performs a similar role to Acas (NMWM02080) providing impartial and independent services to:
- give information and advice on a wide range of employment related matters,
- promote good employment practices, and
- help prevent and resolve disputes
The Agency has a statutory remit to attempt to seek the resolution of most infringements of employment rights without the need for an industrial tribunal (NMWM02110) or Fair Employment Tribunal hearing. This process is called individual conciliation and covers employment rights conferred by the various legislative provisions. The Agency officer will help both parties become aware of the options available to enable them to decide how best to proceed. The officer cannot impose or recommend a settlement and any information given to them is treated as confidential and cannot be disclosed without the permission of the party concerned. If a case is not settled or withdrawn through conciliation, it will be heard and decided by a tribunal.
The Agency may also be asked to help resolve industrial disputes by providing collective conciliation, mediation and arbitration services.