Pilot tests of judicial mediation - an alternative approach to settling employment disputes before reaching court - have been reported as 'very positive' in the Tribunals Service Annual Report and Accounts.
The pilots, carried out over a 12-month period, led to judicial mediation being rolled out to all employment tribunal regional offices in England and Wales in January 2009. Work is currently under way to develop a similar scheme in Scotland.
The number of single employment tribunal claims received by the Tribunals Service in the last quarter of 2008-09 was up by 28% when compared with the previous year. Single employment tribunal claims in the second half of the year were also 15% higher than in the first six months of the year.
The full employment tribunal statistics will be published later this year. However, provisional statistics seen by Personnel Today's sister group XpertHR for employment tribunal claims over the period from April 2008 to February 2009 reflect the change in the economic climate.
Unfair dismissal claims, redundancy pay claims, and claims for failure to inform and consult over redundancy are all up on the figures for the period from April 2007 to the end of March 2008.
The annual report also said Caseflow, an electronic case management system designed for the efficient processing of claims and their transfer between the Tribunals Service and local Acas offices, is to be piloted over the next year and is expected to be utilised by all employment tribunal offices by summer 2010.