Rita DonaghyRita Donaghy CBE has been the Chair of Acas Council - the body responsible for directing Acas - since October 2000.She joined Acas after a long and distinguished career in employment relations through voluntary union work. This culminated in her being President of the TUC 1999-2000 only the second lay member to have held the post in 132 years.Before becoming Acas Chair she was employed as the Permanent Secretary to the Students' Union at the Institute of Education, a post she had held since 1984 having joined the Registry there in 1968. Rita's involvement in the employment relations world began over 30 years ago when she set up a clerical branch of NALGO at the University of London.This led to her forming the national committee and drawing up national conditions for university support staff.Having served on NALGO's National Executive Council since 1973 with spells as Vice Chair, Chair and President, Rita was then Chair of the Steering Committee which oversaw the merger of NALGO (local government), NUPE (public employees) and COHSE (health workers) into UNISON.This was no easy task as it brought together three large organisations and it took five years to achieve. Since 1987 Rita has been a member of the TUC's General Council and served on various associated committees.She has a particular interest in equality issues and has been a member of the Low Pay Commission, the Equal Opportunities Commission Task Force and chaired the TUC Disabilities Forum.She is also a member of the Committee on Standards in Public Life.
Based in the UK, Rita Donaghy began her career as a university administrator and trade unionist who went on to hold significant industrial positions in public life before being named as a new Labour Life Peer in the 2010 Dissolution Honours List, when she became Baroness Donaghy of Peckham in the London Borough of Southwark.
Prior to becoming a Baroness, Rita was awarded the OBE for services to industrial relations in 1998, then made a CBE in 2005 for services to employment relations.
From 2000 - 2007 Rita was Chair of ACAS - the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service.
The ACAS mission is to improve organisations and working life through better employment relations.
Prior to this appointment, Mrs Donaghy was President of the TUC 1999 to 2000.She served on the National Executive Council of NALGO/UNISON from 1973 to 2000, including a spell as President in 1989 to 1990.From 1987 to 2000, Mrs Donaghy was a member of the TUC's General Council and has also served on the executive of the European TUC.She was a member of the Low Pay Commission and the Equal Opportunities Commission Task Group on Equal Pay.She was appointed a member of the Committee on Standards in Public Life (The Graham Committee) in February 2001.In 2003, Mrs Donaghy was awarded was awarded an Honorary Doctorate from the Open University as well as a Fellowship of the Chartered Institute for Personnel and Development.In 2004 Mrs Donaghy was awarded an Honorary Doctorate from Keele University and a Fellowship of the RSA.In 2005 she was awarded an Honorary Doctorate in Business Administration from Greenwich University.
The report, commissioned by the government last year and written by Rita Donaghy, the former chair of employment arbitration service Acas, recommends imposing 'positive duties' on company directors, which could lead to them being prosecuted for safety lapses.
It says: 'The time is right to introduce a clearer sign that society wishes to prevent fatalities and demands a higher standard of behaviour from those in the construction industry who do not at present follow good practice.'
Ms Donaghy says the Health and Safety at Work Act could be amended so that it imposes a duty on individual directors 'to take all reasonable steps to ensure health and safety'.
The report warns that the impact of the Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act, which came into force in April 2008, will be 'adversely affected' because it does not spell out the 'precise responsibility' of directors.
Ms Donaghy also recommends extending the Gangmasters Licensing Authority's remit to cover the construction trade. 'The further down the sub-contracting chain one goes the less secure is the worker and the less satisfactory is the management of health and safety on site.
Society should accept that there needs to be a standard below which no construction worker should have to work,' it states.
The construction industry, says Ms Donaghy, does not appreciate the positive role that trade unions can play and says it is a 'disgrace' there is such a low level of reporting serious accidents. 'If we had a higher proportion of reporting serious accidents, it might help us to achieve a more accurate picture about fatalities,' says the report.
Yvette Cooper, work and pensions minister, praised Ms Donaghy's work but said the government could not comment on the recommendations at this stage.
Committee on Standards in Public Life | Members and Remuneration
Rita Donaghy CBE | Lloyd Clarke QPM | Professor Hazel Genn CBE | Dame Patricia Hodgson DBE | Baroness Maddock | Rt Hon Alun Michael JP MP | Rt Hon Baroness Shephard of Northwold JP DL | Dr Elizabeth Vallance | Dr Brian Woods-Scawen
Rita Donaghy CBEChair of ACAS (Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service) 2000-31 October 2007.Formerly President of the TUC (Trades Union Congress) 1999-2000; Member of Low Pay Commission 1997-2000; Advisory Committee on Employment of People with Disabilities 1995-1997; Chair of the TUC Women's Committee 1997-2000; Member of European TUC Executive 1992-2000; Member of TUC General Council 1987-2000; Member of NALGO/UNISON National Executive Council 1973-2000; President of NALGO 1989-1990; Assistant Registrar, then Permanent Secretary of the Students' Union, Institute of Education, University of London 1968-2000.Graduated from Durham University.
Non-executive directory - Rita DonaghyRita Donaghy is Chair of the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Services (ACAS).Prior to this appointment, she was President of the TUC and served on the National Executive Council of NALGO/ UNISON.Rita joined the Trust as a Non-Executive Director in 2005.
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