First year of Acas’ Early Conciliation is a success with high take up and satisfaction rates
Workplace expert Acas has published reports on its first year of Early Conciliation (EC), which show that:
- Acas has dealt with over 83,000 EC cases between April 2014 and March 2015;
- Three out of four employees and employers agreed to try EC in its first year of operation; and
- Eight out of ten people who took part in EC were satisfied with the service they received from Acas.
The law changed last year so that anyone thinking of making an Employment Tribunal claim has to notify Acas first. Acas then tries to resolve the dispute quickly without the need for legal action through its free Early Conciliation service.
New Acas statistics for EC notifications received between April and December show that 63% did not proceed to a tribunal claim, a further 15% resulted in a formal settlement (known as a COT3) and 22% progressed to a tribunal claim.
Acas conciliation is still available after a tribunal claim has been lodged until the court date. More than half (51%) of the 22% of cases that progressed to a tribunal claim have now been resolved by Acas.
Acas Chief Executive Anne Sharp said:
“Early Conciliation has given Acas conciliators the opportunity to do what they do best – to use a tried and trusted approach that helps save claimants and employers the cost, time and stress of an Employment Tribunal.
“I’m pleased to see the high levels of satisfaction from both employers and individuals who have used the service. Over eight out of ten people who used the service said they would definitely use it again which is testament to the professionalism and expertise of our conciliation staff.”
Independent new research published today, found that over 80% of participants in EC were satisfied with the service they received from Acas. The majority of those surveyed said they would use Early Conciliation again if they were involved in a similar situation in the future (84% of claimants and 87% of employers), with responses over 90% for representatives for each group.
The research found that nearly half of all claimants (48%) who used EC either reached a formal settlement or were otherwise helped by Acas to avoid a tribunal claim.
Other findings from the research include:
- Early conciliation saved claimants and employers time, compared to going to Tribunal. Claimants spent six hours on their dispute on average, compared to six days spent on disputes during employment tribunal cases. Among employers, the average amount of time spent on a dispute was five hours compared to five days for employment tribunal cases.
- 96% of claimants and their representatives who agreed a financial sum as part of their settlement confirmed that it had been paid; this compares favourably to claimants given a financial award at tribunal, where nearly two thirds (63%) said that they had received their payment.
- Among claimants and their representatives who could not settle their case through EC and did not go to tribunal, around a quarter (26%) said that their reason for not then lodging a tribunal claim was that tribunal fees were off putting. One in five (20%) said that their reason for not putting in a claim was that their issue was resolved.
- Claimants and their representatives who declined EC said this was due to their issue being resolved when Acas assistance was offered, or that they felt that conciliation would not resolve their issue, or they felt that their employer would not be willing to engage’. Over half of employers and their representatives who declined EC said it was because they felt they had no case to answer.