Vista Employer Services

A Message from Lord Pickles and Lord Blunkett, followed by Vista Employer Services's best practice article

The ability to listen and learn from one another has always been vital in parliament, in business and in most aspects of daily life. But at this particular moment in time, as national and global events continue to reiterate, it is uncommonly crucial that we forge new channels of communication and reinforce existing ones. The following article from Vista Employer Services is an attempt to do just that. We would welcome your thoughts on this or any other Parliamentary Review article.

Blunkett signature Rt Hon The Lord David Blunkett
Pickles signature Rt Hon The Lord Eric Pickles

Managing Director Darren Maw
Vista Employer Services,
Cheadle, Manchester
Vista Employer Services support human resources teams
through employment law advice as well as blended
services that include employee relations support and
management training. Because their clientele are employers
with HR teams, their clients are generally companies with
over 500 people. Among their clients one can find companies
such as Airbus, General Motors and a number of NHS trusts
– in other words, clients who have put a lot of thought and
resources into their HR strategy. The goal: to maintain dignity
within the workplace and promote inclusion. Managing Director
Darren Maw tells
The Parliamentary Review
more about Vista’s
take on things.
At the heart of every business are people stories, and such people are quickly
becoming the heartbeat of an innovative and fast-moving employment landscape.
Vista focus not just on providing pragmatic employment law advice but also on
adding value to organisations’ people strategies. During 2017, we became the first
organisation in the UK to achieve the new BSI Standard for Diversity and Inclusion,
which has cemented our team’s unique way of adding value to employers.
Ensuring best practice across the board
HR is a wide and varied field; it requires a great deal of knowledge and care, which
is why companies like Vista are so valued. Some of the most difficult aspects of
work life are dealt with by HR experts. For example, we will help with dismissal
»Directors: Darren Maw,
Abayomi Alemoru and
»Founded in 2005
»Based in Cheadle, Manchester
»Services: Human resources
»No. of employees: 14
»Was the first organisation
in the UK to achieve the BSI
Standard for Diversity and
Vista Employer
Highlighting best practice
claims to ensure as little friction within
the company as possible. We also
provide training for managers that
allows them to handle matters of
discipline and management.
Our independent investigation services
are an impartial way of resolving
matters such as bullying, harassment
and other inappropriate behaviours,
including discrimination on the basis
of race, ethnicity, religion, gender or
sexuality. If necessary, we can provide
employment tribunal representation.
The most important consideration in all
of this is that dignity in the workplace
remains a top priority. Part and parcel
of this is our desire as a company to
promote inclusiveness and diversity.
What’s going on in the sector
In July 2017, the Supreme Court
declared employment tribunal fees
unlawful. After the ruling, the number
of single employment tribunal claims
increased by 90 per cent. Alongside a
period of uncertainty and heightened
risk for the millions of employers
across the country, there emerged
a new era in employee relations
management. With the tribunals and
employers so heavily impacted by the
new legislation, there will be long-term
implications for the sector.
When organisations are making HR
decisions, the best ones are looking to
deliver on compliance while achieving
organisational advantage through
engagement, whereas others can end
up trying to reduce their costs. Much
of this is done through the fear of
litigation, which drives compliance
Back in 2013, the impact of the
introduction of employment tribunal
fees on the number of claims that
were brought varied, depending
on the organisation. Those that
strived to achieve high performance
through good, ethical practice and
engagement were largely unaffected;
these organisations were spared
the additional scrutiny brought by
litigation – spurious or otherwise.
However, those organisations in the
more aggressive cost management
sector came to realise that they were
able to play increasingly fast and loose
with compliance, because in this “new
world”, cost advantages outweighed
the risk of litigation.
The value of claims being brought
isn’t always measured by people
successfully asserting their rights
and being compensated, but rather
by ensuring that the context of
regulation sustains its relevance within
The tribunal system is right to focus
on the problematic nature of spurious
claims, because they spawn a “no win,
no fee” legal culture where payouts
are made by employers because that
is more cost-effective than fighting a
case, even though they would win.
This problem needs to be targeted
specifically, with ever-increasing
punitive measures to address non-
meritorious claims.
We provide a full suite
of HR training and
investigation services
Part and
parcel of this
is our desire as
a company to
and diversity
Addressing discrimination and
For good reason, the current focus
on diversity, inclusion and equality
in organisations will improve
employee relations. Teams made up
of personnel with different genders,
ages, ethnicities, life experiences
and backgrounds are essential
for increasing engagement and
performance. However, when we are
trying to address discrimination and
equality in the workplace, there is a
natural tendency for employers to
focus on disadvantaged groups.
We must be careful not to bake in
hypocrisy and to instead seek the
values behind equality. In 2018,
we live in a world where business
networking groups for women are
legitimate and encouraged – but if
you set up a business networking
group only for men, this would by and
large be lambasted as bigoted and
Vista are proud to be the first
organisation to achieve the British
Standard for Diversity and Inclusion,
and as we lead the equality debate,
we believe organisations need to
focus on the underlying values rather
than the injustices that are trying
to be corrected. We must resist the
temptation to oversimplify these issues.
To illustrate this, let’s go back to 1912,
when the
sank and women
were second-class citizens. During the
catastrophe, the captain and crew
were presented with the most difficult
choice any human could make: who
was going to live and who was going
to die? Interestingly, despite being
categorised as inferior, survival figures
show that women’s lives were valued
more than men’s.
Juxtapose this historical moment with
modern society, where equality is
paramount, and the results highlight
that we still have a lot of work to do.
At the beginning of the 2017 series
Strictly Come Dancing
, there was a
pairing exercise to match the celebrities
with the professional dancers. When
a female contestant was asked how
she felt about the pairing exercise,
she responded, “I intend to rub up
against anybody I can.” This highlights
a considerable double standard for
which a remedy is needed.
What’s the answer? Equal doesn’t
necessarily mean identical. Although
we can argue the extent of this, men
and women are different, and yet
people are nervous to discuss it. We
can have differences, as long as these
differences don’t restrict anyone’s
liberty. By that same token, we should
be careful not to afford minority
groups an exclusive platform. What
we should be doing is taking their
concerns, incorporating them into a
values-based context and putting them
on an inclusive platform.
We must be
careful not to
bake in
hypocrisy and to
instead seek the
values behind
We are proud to be
the first organisation to
achieve BSI accreditation
for diversity and

This article was sponsored by Vista Employer Services. The Parliamentary Review is wholly funded by the representatives who write for it. The publication in which this article originally appeared contained the following foreword from Rt Hon Michael Gove.

Rt Hon Michael Gove's Foreword For The Parliamentary Review

By Rt Hon Michael Gove

This year's Parliamentary Review comes at a momentous time for parliament, as we collectively determine the destiny of the United Kingdom. 

On October 31, the UK will leave the European Union. The successful implementation of this process is this government's number-one priority.

Three years after a historic referendum vote, we will deliver on the decisive mandate from the British people. Trust in our democracy depends on it. Until that final hour, we will work determinedly and diligently to negotiate a deal, one that abolishes the backstop and upholds the warm and close relationship we share with our friends, allies and neighbours in the EU. But in the event that the EU refuses to meet us at the table, we must be prepared to leave without a deal.

As the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, it is my job to lead on this government's approach, should that scenario happen. Preparing for Brexit is my department's driving mission. But while I am leading this turbocharged effort, the whole of government is committed to this endeavour.

Ministers across Whitehall are working together to ensure that every possibility is considered, every plan is scrutinised and every provision is made. A daily drumbeat of meetings means that we are holding departments accountable, so that preparations are completed on time.

The chancellor has confirmed that all necessary funding will be made available. And we have mobilised thecivil service, assigning 15,000 of our most talented civil servants to manage our exit from the EU.

We will make sure that on November 1, there is as little disruption to national life as possible. Our trade relationships will continue to thrive, thanks to agreements with countries around the world worth £70 billion. Our country will remain secure, thanks to nearly 1,000 new officers posted at our borders. And the 3.2 million EU nationals now living and working among us can remain confident, with absolute certainty, of their right to remain in the UK.

Above all, our goal is to be transparent. Soon, we will launch a public information campaign so that citizens, communities and businesses are ready and reassured about what will happen in the event of “no deal”.

In my first few weeks in this role, I have travelled to ports and tarmacs, borders and bridges, all across the UK –from the seaside of Dover to the rolling green hills of County Armagh. I have heard from business owners and border officials, farmers and hauliers. They are ready to put an end to uncertainty. And they are ready to embrace the opportunities ahead.

Our departure from the EU will be a once in a lifetime chance to chart a new course for the United Kingdom. Preparing for that new course will be a herculean effort. But this country has made astounding efforts before. We can do it again.
Rt Hon Michael Gove
Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster