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Acas saves businesses time and money

Monday 22 November 2010

  • Employers report that new, early conciliation service takes up significantly less time than dealing with a tribunal claim
  • Employers who resolve a potential claim through early conciliation are saving on average £5,200.

Businesses are opting for early intervention in workplace disputes rather than facing the stress of an employment tribunal claim, according to a survey looking at their use of Pre Claim Conciliation - the new free, Acas early conciliation service.

PCC saves the time, cost and stress of dealing with a claim to an employment tribunal. When staff time and legal costs are factored in businesses are saving on average £5,200 compared to resolving a dispute once an employment tribunal claim has been made (1).

Businesses said they found that disputes resolved through PCC typically occupied less than a day of management time, whereas cases settled after an employment tribunal claim has been made take up on average five days of management time. This increases to nine days for those which reach a tribunal hearing. Similar time savings were evident for employees.

In addition, the research revealed that the PCC service brings lasting benefits for the workplace. Over a quarter of employers said that the Acas conciliator had provided them with information or advice that they felt would help them avoid having to deal with another similar dispute in future.

Ed Sweeney, Acas Chair, says:

"Pre claim conciliation has already helped thousands of businesses and individuals to resolve their disputes without becoming involved in long, costly and stressful employment tribunal proceedings. PCC offers a 'win win' situation for both parties involved in a workplace problem. In a tribunal someone always loses."

The research found that the majority of disputes referred to PCC related to unfair dismissal (61 per cent); but breach of contract (18 per cent) discrimination (15 per cent) and redundancy payments (13 per cent) were also common. More than three quarters of the claimants were employed in the private sector.

The latest PCC statistics highlight that:

  • By the end of October 2010 over 19,000 potential employment tribunal claims had been referred for PCC since the service was launched in April 2009
  • Demand for the service continues to rise. Acas has handled the same number of PCC referrals so far in 2010 (April to October) than in the whole of 2009 (April 2009 to March 2010); and
  • Less than one-third of potential disputes that qualify for PCC result in a tribunal claim (2)

For media enquiries please contact Clare Carter on 020 7210 3688/Matt Barker on 0207 210 3924 or Lou Owen on 020 7210 3920.

Read the Mail on Sunday article for further information.

Notes for editors

The independent research was carried out among around 1,188 employers, employees and representatives who used the service between April and December 2009.

(1) The saving of £5,200 includes the average cost of legal advice and representation together with staff and senior management time across all stages of the process. These estimates focus on the relative costs of the two processes; settlements and tribunal awards are not included in the calculations.

(2) Of the 12,394 PCC cases completed between April 2009 and August 2010 only 3,406 - less than one third - went on to become an ET claim. Figures are only available up to August 2010 due to the difference in time between the completion of Pre Claim Conciliation and a submission of a claim to tribunal.

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.