Credit: Alina Grubnyak

Employment Legal Advice Network (ELAN)

ELAN is a network of over 40 organisations dedicated to ensuring that people in London are able to obtain advice about and enforce their employment rights and entitlements.

This could be through the provision of advice and/or campaigning for change. The primary focus is on low-paid workers and those in precarious work.

Who's who?

Trust for London set up the network in 2014 and continues to co-ordinate it. ELAN has an independent chair, Andrew Hillier QC, and it is supported by a consultant, Camilla Palmer QC (Hon). ELAN’s COVID-19 response is co-ordinated by Victoria Speed.

Aims

  • Improve the effectiveness of the London Employment Rights Advice sector;
  • Improve the co-ordination of this sector;
  • Share learning and experience;
  • Identify areas of joint action and undertake initiatives/campaigns;
  • Identify gaps in knowledge and evidence.

Can you participate?

Participation is open to any not-for-profit advice or campaigning organisations working on employment/workers’ rights in London. A full list of current members can be found below.

What does ELAN do?

  • Meetings - ELAN usually meets formally four times a year to share good practice and information, identify policy issue and collaborate on appropriate responses. Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, ELAN has moved to more regular virtual meetings.
  • Support for advice providers – ELAN works collaboratively to support the delivery of advice services through pro bono networks and facilitates ad hoc training.
  • Good practice sharing – ELAN invites members and external organisations to share expertise and solutions to assist with employment advice provision.
  • Expert volunteer engagement– ELAN facilitates the pairing of volunteers with ELAN members through a mentoring scheme.
  • Promotes mediation (as an alternative to dispute resolution) - The pro bono mediation service, DRAW (Dispute Resolution Assistance and Mediation in the Workplace), is a free online mediation service for employees and small employers based in Greater London, to help them resolve work related disputes. Find out more on the YESS website, including useful pdfs employers, employees, volunteers lawyers and ELAN advisers when considering mediation.
  • Contribution to policy development – ELAN contributes to government consultations and co-ordinates efforts with organisations to feed into policy making related to workers' rights.

Mentoring Programme

One of ELAN's aims is to engage employment law professionals (judiciary, barristers, solicitors) to volunteer as mentors with ELAN legal advisers working in the employment advice sector. The role of mentor is a hugely valued and important role. Current volunteer mentors meet at regular intervals with mentees. They act as confidential sounding boards, talking through particular legal issues, procedure rules, and practical advice e.g. time management, managing colleagues etc.

For the mentees, the chance to discuss their workload is a highly valued developmental opportunity. Mentors also enjoy the experience, citing that they are happy to share their knowledge and experience with others. The role of mentor can add huge value to the quality of advice provided to the most vulnerable workers and improves confidence and standards of those delivering frontline legal advice.

How it works

  • Volunteers are matched with legal advisers for an initial four-week trial period.
  • Mentoring takes place online or by telephone.
  • At the outset, mentor and mentee agree how their arrangement will work e.g. meetings via zoom every Wednesday or every other week etc.
  • Mentors make clear from the outset what they will and won’t do in their role. Some state that they will not carry out drafting or have client contact for example.
  • Mentee organisations must commit to insuring the volunteer mentor as part of the project.
  • ELAN reviews the relationship separately with mentor and mentee after a period of approximately four weeks.
  • The mentoring relationship continues for as long as both parties agree but it is suggested that both should commit to a minimum period of three months including the trial period.

If you are interested in volunteering as a mentor to an employment adviser within the ELAN network, please contact Victoria Speed, COVID-19 Response Coordinator.

Examples of ELAN's work

ELAN works closely with the Greater London Authority and provided input into the development of Employment Rights Hub for Londoners.

In 2019, ELAN members provided input into the Trust’s submission to the government’s Good Work Plan consultation.

For regular updates on ELAN's work, follow @trustforlondon on Twitter and see #ELAN for recent tweets.

Contact

For more information on ELAN's COVID-19 response or to register your interest in volunteering, contact Victoria at elan@swllc.org.

If you are interested in joining ELAN, please email Trust For London Grants Manager Klara Skrivankova at info@trustforlondon.org.uk.

Current members