The Government is currently in the process of introducing changes to legislation in relation to offers of settlement and settlement agreements. These changes will be made under the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill, which is currently progressing through Parliament. ACAS has produced a draft code of practice to underpin this legislation and which is currently under consultation. The consultation is due to close on 9 April 2013.
Under changes to legislation offers of settlement will become inadmissible as evidence in unfair dismissal cases, so long as there has been no improper behaviour in the process of discussing the agreement. The new ACAS code will set out the broad principles covering the use of settlement agreements and is intended to provide employers and employees with a shared understanding of how the new rules on settlement agreements will work in practice. The code sets out what settlement agreements are, how these should be proposed and what constitutes improper behaviour during settlement negotiations. ACAS has invited comments on the draft code as well as views on specific issues. The full consultation and draft code can be found here: http://www.acas.org.uk/index.aspx?articleid=4105