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IM Educate Briefing

May 2018: News in brief

GDPR: Have you made changes to your contracts of employment? 

New rules in respect of data protection came into force on 25 May 2018. We have created a suite of HR documents to ensure that your employment contracts and policies comply with GDPR. These are available to you at a fixed fee. Please contact Jen Walton on +44(0)114 274 4657 or email jennifer.walton@irwinmitchell.com for more details.

New Government investigation into exclusions 

The Government has commissioned a review of school exclusions lead by Edward Timpson to find out why some groups of pupils are more likely to be excluded.

In 2015/16, 0.08% of children were permanently excluded from state funded schools in England, but the rates for some children are much higher. Pupils from some ethnic backgrounds are disproportionally more likely to be excluded from school. Black Caribbean pupils, for example, were permanently excluded at three times the rate of White British pupils. White Irish Traveller and Gypsy/Roma pupils had by far the highest rates of both fixed period and permanent exclusions.

The report is expected to be produced by the end of this year.


Councils forced to raid funds to support rise in number of special needs children

According to a report in the Independent newspaper, councils across England are using funds intended for state schools to pay for extra support for children with special educational needs (SEND).

Figures, shared exclusively with The Independent, reveal that almost £200 million was overspent by county councils on the high-needs block – a grant for children with SEND – in just three years.


SEND Commons Education Committee Enquiry

In 2014, the Government introduced wide-reaching changes to the SEND system, with the intention of offering simpler, improved and consistent help for children and young people with SEND. The Government claimed these changes would give families greater choice in decisions.

This committee will review the success of these reforms, how they have been implemented, and what impact they are having in meeting the challenges faced by children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities.

The closing date for written submissions is Thursday 14 June.


From 6 April 2019 all workers must receive a pay statement

Following recommendations made by Matthew Taylor in his review (published last year) the government has confirmed that the right to receive an itemised pay statement will be extended to all workers – currently, only employees have this right.

This measure is designed to help workers ascertain whether they have received the correct amount of pay. Many casual staff are paid an hourly rate and next year employers will have to state how many hours the worker has worked, and clearly set out what deductions have been made. 

EU proposes new law to strengthen whistle blower protection 

A proposal from the European Commission will guarantee a high level of protection for whistle blowers who report breaches of EU law by setting new, EU-wide standards. The new law will establish safe channels for reporting both within an organisation and to public authorities, and will protect whistle blowers against dismissal, demotion and other forms of retaliation.

All companies with more than 50 employees or with an annual turnover of over €10 million will have to set up an internal procedure to handle whistle blowers' reports.

The draft law will be revised by EU governments and the European parliament, a process that usually takes 18-24 months. Although the law will only come into force until after the UK leaves the EU, the British government may find it forms part of core EU standards that must be respected to secure a far-reaching trade deal.


Review suggests the Apprenticeship Levy has diminished the quality of apprenticeships

From April 2017 employers with a payroll of over £3 million have been required to pay 0.5% of their payroll costs to HMRC to fund the Apprenticeship Levy. One year on, the Think Tank Reform concludes that it has “diminished the quality of apprenticeships”, with many businesses relabeling low-skilled jobs as apprenticeships while gaining subsidies for training.

The report found that almost 40% of the new apprenticeships designed by employers are apprenticeships “in name only”, as the list of roles that now are classed as an apprenticeship do not meet the “historical or international definition of an apprenticeship”.

It has made a number of recommendations including:

  • Abandoning the target of three million apprenticeships by 2020, so as to focus on apprenticeship quality instead
  • Introducing a new internationally-benchmarked definition of an apprenticeship
  • Removing the requirement for 10% employment co-investment towards the cost of training apprentices, to avoid employers disengaging from apprenticeships
  • Replacing the existing HMRC digital payment system with a simpler ‘apprenticeship voucher’ model
  • Making Ofqual the only option for quality assuring at the end-point assessments for apprentices to ensure standards are maintained over time.


Published May 2018

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