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Independent study reveals Acas adds £800m to UK economy

Wednesday 14 November 2007
National 

Every pound of taxpayers' money invested in employment relations service creates over £16 return

A new independent study, pdf  A Review of the Economic Impact of Employment Relations Services Delivered by Acas [399kb] has revealed the positive impact that the employment relations service Acas is having on the UK economy.

Research published today by the National Institute of Economic and Social Research shows that for every pound spent by Acas, over £16 is returned, generating benefits worth almost £800 million a year across UK businesses, employees and the economy.

The report, which analysed Acas' six principal service areas, found that Acas work in resolving individual and collective disputes at work produced immediate savings to the economy of £313 million, while the advice and guidance provided to employers and employees contributed a further £475 million.

Minister for Employment Relations, Pat McFadden, said Acas played a valuable role in helping disputes get resolved in the workplace with positive benefits for the economy.

Every pound of taxpayers' money invested in employment relations service creates over £16 return

"Employment disputes are stressful for employees and costly for business. It is in everyone's interest to resolve problems quickly and without involving Employment Tribunals wherever possible. Acas' services help to promote solutions which benefit everyone involved." 

Savings in management time, and reductions in recruitment, absence and other employment costs were amongst the benefits for businesses from working with Acas while employees benefited particularly from better employment prospects and avoiding a loss in earnings.

The report focuses on the direct and immediate benefits of Acas interventions. It does not examine in detail the longer term and wider economic advantages of a better employment relations climate. However the latter are likely to show further benefits worth hundreds of millions of pounds resulting from the work undertaken by Acas staff.

Ed Sweeney, Acas Chair, commented:

"In business terms, this level of return is impressive and testament to the expertise and diverse services being delivered by Acas.

"As well as generating direct advantages to balance sheets and the economy, this research underlines that 'a business is only as good as its people'. Our experience tells us that businesses will reap significant short and long term benefits by creating a healthy, happy and positive work environment."

Pamela Meadows, author of the report said of the research:

"My estimate of the economic impact of the work of Acas represents a minimum, not least because it does not take into account the potential for long-term improvements in productivity and investment as a result of better relationships in the workplace. It is also clear that the benefits of Acas intervention are spread well beyond those most immediately involved in workplace conflicts."

Notes to editors

  1. Acas' aim is to improve organisations and working life through better employment relations. It provides information, advice, training and a range of services working with employers and employees to prevent or resolve problems and improve performance. It is an independent statutory body governed by a Council consisting of the Acas Chair and employer, trade union and independent members.

About the report:

pdf  A Review of the Economic Impact of Employment Relations Services Delivered by Acas [399kb] was carried out by Pamela Meadows at the National Institute of Economic and Social Research and published in November 2007.

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