No growth in Acas early conciliation notifications

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The number of early conciliation notifications has levelled off according to Acas, which has published its 2016/17 annual report.

There were circa 92,251 early conciliation notifications in 2016-17, less than 0.1% higher than the previous year. In 2014-15, there were 83,423.

Of the 92,251 notifications received by Acas in the past year, less than one-fifth (17,500) became employment tribunal claims and, of these, only 5,500 were decided by tribunal. Around 12,000 are resolved – formally or informally.

Acas chair Sir Brendan Barber said: “Demand for Acas’ services continues to be strong. The past year has seen us deal with a large number of collective disputes, such as London Underground, UK airports baggage handlers and British Airways cabin crew.

“Our annual report shows how our diverse range of services are continually adapting to meet the new and changing demands of the modern day workplace.

“This is especially important now as good workplace practice can help navigate the change that some organisations may have to go through due to Brexit.”

Key facts and figures from this year’s annual report include:

  • Acas prevented or resolved disputes between groups of workers and their employer with 744 national and regional disputes in a wide range of sectors. The conciliation service helped to settle nine out of ten collective disputes.
  • Unfair dismissal was the top issue in individual disputes (33%), followed by “Wages Act” (28%), and breach of contract (14%). There were 6,538 notifications relating to sex discrimination, up from 3,947 two years ago.
  • The Acas helpline answered 887,000 calls. The top three topic categories were discipline, dismissal and grievances; contracts; and redundancies, layoffs and business transfers. Over 500,000 users asked 1.4 million questions on Acas’ automated online helpline advice service.
  • Acas trained over 13,000 people on a range of workplace topics, including the latest changes in employment law. Acas also provided tailored training in around 1,200 organisations reaching over 23,000 people. Eighty-two per cent of all organisations that were helped with problem-solving reported improvements in workplace relationships.
  • Acas’ website visits increased to nearly 12 million – a 100% increase since 2013 and Acas guidance was accessed 8.4 million times.

“Good workplace relations and practice can also help to improve productivity in the workplace, reaping huge benefits to businesses, employers, employees and the economy. Latest independent research confirms that for every £1 Acas spends, there is a £13 benefit to the economy,” added Barber.

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