Trades Union Certification Officer
The Certification Officer is responsible for:
- maintaining a list of trade unions and employers' associations
- receiving and scrutinising annual returns from trade unions and employers' associations
- determining complaints concerning trade union elections, certain other ballots and breaches of trade union rules
- ensuring observance of statutory requirements governing mergers between trade unions and between employers' associations
- overseeing the political funds and the finances of trade unions and employers' associations
- certifying the independence of trade unions
Gerard Walker was appointed as the Certification Officer by the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills on 29 June 2016. The appointment was on an interim basis for the period 1 July 2016 to 30 November 2016. The appointment was extended on 24 November 2016 and now runs until 30 April 2017.
The previous Certification Officer was David Cockburn, appointed on 1 August 2001 and re-appointed in 2004, 2007, 2010 and 2012. Mr Cockburn retired on 30 June 2016. He has chaired the Industrial Law Society (ILS), the Employment Lawyers Association (ELA), and the Employment Law Committee of the Law Society. He was also the founder treasurer of the Institute of Employment Rights. He is currently a vice-president of the ILS and the ELA and a member of the editorial board of the Encyclopaedia of Employment Law and the Industrial Law Journal. He is also a part-time chairman of Employment Tribunals and a Visiting Professor at the Middlesex University Business School.
In order to be recognised by the Officer, a union must first apply to be listed - a simple paper process, costing £150. But to be recognised as an independent union, with all the attendant legal benefits that follow, a union must undergo a more rigorous inspection to confirm its independence from employers. This currently costs £4066.