A new code of practice concerning discipline and grievance procedures has been released for public consultation.

Developed by the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (Acas), the code is intended to encourage firms to resolve disputes internally and thereby make the process more efficient.

Commenting on the proposed guidelines, Pat McFadden, minister for employment relations, said: "The new code is a key element in the government’s plans to streamline and simplify the dispute resolution system to the benefit of employers and employees."

He added that by establishing flexible guidance to assist in the early resolution of disputes, it will "complement" the removal of statutory measures.

The revised code is said to be much shorter than its predecessor and contains practical guidance for employers and workers, as well as their representatives.

Acas aims to make working life better through the improvement of employment relations.