Acas says pre-claim conciliation service has prevented more than 5,000 tribunal cases

More than 5,000 employment tribunals are said to have been avoided after the launch of Acas’ pre-claim conciliation service, the arbitration body has claimed.

Acas helpline advisers have referred some 8.034 cases to the pre-claim service since its launch in April 2009, which have helped to prevent thousands of tribunals, according to the organisation.

The free service was launched alongside the new Acas Code of Practice on disciplinary and grievance procedures, to settle workplace issues that could escalate to an expensive tribunal.

Acas said about 300 referrals to the service are being received every week on average, and expects this number to rise to about 400 during 2010.

Ed Sweeney, Acas chairman, said: “This data indicates that workers and employers are increasingly taking steps to avoid employment tribunals. The current economic climate has created difficult workplace challenges for managers, HR professionals and employees. The earlier issues can be resolved, the more likely people will remain in productive employment in the workplace.

“The service is quick. More than half of all resolved cases are completed in about three weeks instead of the six to nine months that most tribunal claims take. We have a responsibility to support the economic recovery by resolving workplace disputes early on to avoid costly, stressful and time-consuming employment tribunals.”

Last year, Sweeney told Personnel Today the new code would not necessarily lead to reduced employment tribunal claims, but the latest figures suggest early resolution of workplace disputes can prevent cases reaching court.

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