News Room

Professor Frank Burchill OBE

In very sad news for the industrial relations community, Professor Frank Burchill passed away on Saturday, 18 July 2020, after a short illness.
Frank was highly respected by his colleagues in the academic, practitioner and wider industrial relation community.

In 1989, after 22 years with the Department of Adult Education, Frank was appointed Keele’s first Professor of Industrial Relations and established a Department of HRM and Industrial Relations and ultimately a full-time undergraduate programme, full-time Masters’ degrees and a Doctorate programme. Many people from the industrial relations community benefited and, indeed, had their lives changed, by being educated and enlightened as students in Frank’s Department. The Department provided a proper robust social science education, in the best sense of the meaning.

In 1999, Frank stepped down from the Headship of the Department because he had been appointed by the Secretary of State at the Home Department – then Jack Straw – to conduct an inquiry into industrial relations procedures in the then UK Fire and Emergency Service.

Frank also conducted extensive practical industrial relations work as a Deputy Chairman of the UK Central Arbitration Committee, and with Acas.

In 2009 he went to Tasmania, where his wife Alice had been appointed to work for the Tasmanian Department of Health and Human Services, later becoming CEO.
Frank returned to the UK in 2012, and continued to teach at various universities and to do Acas work. In 2009 he was awarded an OBE in the Queen's Birthday Honours List for Services to Acas.

Sincere condolences to Alice and the family from BUIRA.

21st July 2020