FDA warns over Government's unjustified Certification Officer plans

Monday 22 May 2017

The Government's plans to extend the remit and powers of the Certification Officer represent a serious intrusion into the internal affairs of trade unions, the FDA has warned.

Under the Trades Union Act 2016 the role of the CO would transform from a quasi-judicial officer, who adjudicates on disputes between unions and their members, into a full enforcement agency.

But in its response to the official consultation on the proposals, the FDA warns that the Government has failed to demonstrate how the new measures are justified or proportionate.

In effect, the CO will be expected to act as the complainant, the investigator, the prosecutor and the judge and jury. The FDA believes that this approach is not consistent with natural justice and raises issues over unions’ right to a fair trial.

No other civil society groups, charities or membership organisations are subject to equivalent regulation. Unions are democratic bodies which are accountable to their members and have a strong track record of complying with their legal duties. In our opinion, the Government’s proposals are unjustified.

We are also concerned by the shortness of the consultation process and the absence of an impact assessment to accompany the Government’s proposals which mean it is more difficult for unions to assess the full implications of the Government’s proposals and to respond to the consultation.

You can read and download the FDA's full consultation response below.