The Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (Acas) has published the results of its survey on the first year of its Early Conciliation (EC) scheme. These show that:
- Acas handled more than 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.
Statistics for EC notifications received between April and December 2014 show that 63 per cent did not proceed to an Employment Tribunal (ET) claim, a further 15 per cent resulted in a formal settlement (known as a COT3) and 22 per cent progressed to an ET claim. Of the latter, more than half (51 per cent) were subsequently resolved by Acas.
Independent research found that more than 80 per cent of participants in EC were satisfied with the service they received from Acas and the majority of those surveyed said they would use EC again if they were involved in a similar situation in the future (84 per cent of claimants and 87 per cent of employers).
The research also found that nearly half of all claimants (48 per cent) who used EC either reached a formal settlement or were otherwise helped by Acas to avoid an ET claim.
Other findings include:
- EC saved claimants and employers time, compared with going to the ET. Claimants spent six hours on their dispute on average, compared with six days spent on disputes during ET cases. Among employers, the average amount of time spent on a dispute was five hours compared with five days for ET cases; and
- 96 per cent of claimants and their representatives who agreed a financial sum as part of their settlement confirmed that it had been paid. This compares favourably with claimants awarded compensation at the ET, where nearly two thirds (63 per cent) said that they had received their payment;
- Among claimants and their representatives who were unable to settle their case through EC and did not take it to the ET, around a quarter (26 per cent) said that their reason for not proceeding was the requirement to pay fees. One in five (20 per cent) said that their reason for not lodging a claim was that their issue was resolved; and
- Claimants and their representatives who declined EC said this was because their issue was resolved when Acas assistance was offered, or they were of the opinion that conciliation would not resolve their issue, or they felt that their employer would not be willing to engage in the process. Over half of employers and their representatives who declined EC said it was because they felt they had no case to answer.
The latest conciliation update for the year April 2014 to March 2015 can be found on the Acas website.