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Website URL : http://www.acas.org.uk/index.aspx?articleid=4142

Free Acas helpline prevents stress and cost of tribunals

Friday 01 February 2013

  • Around 14,000 employment tribunal claims avoided a year following Acas helpline advice.
  • Employers more likely to make changes as a result of call to the Acas helpline.

Independent research has found that the Acas helpline has averted around 14,000 employment tribunals a year.

The helpline is a confidential national service that is available for anybody who has questions about workplace issues or employment rights. This can help both employers and employees avoid the cost, stress and time of an employment tribunal. Last year the helpline dealt with 925,000 calls from employers, employees or their representatives.

The research, commissioned by Acas and available at www.acas.org.uk/helpline, found over nine out of ten employers (96 per cent) who call the Acas helpline would recommend it to a colleague. A third of employers (33 per cent) implemented new policies after speaking to Acas. Additionally nearly half (47 per cent) reported that they had updated or improved the policies at their workplace after speaking to Acas. Twenty three per cent of employees who were considering making a claim to an employment tribunal didn't pursue a claim following the advice they received.

And the most common workplace concerns worrying employers and employees were discipline, dismissal and grievance (27 per cent), redundancies or lay offs (23 per cent) and contracts (19 per cent).

The study also found that:

  • 94 per cent of all callers are satisfied with the Acas helpline
  • 95 per cent of all callers would use the Acas helpline again for employment issues
  • 44 per cent of employers and 42 per cent of their reps applied or implemented changes recommended by the Acas helpline.

Acas Chair Ed Sweeney said:

"Our free helpline is a highly trusted source of free advice with over 90 per cent of callers satisfied with the service.

"The independent research demonstrates that the impact of the helpline has long term benefits for the British workplace and significant savings to the economy.

"Our staff have helped to avoid costly employment tribunals with the majority of calls coming from people who work in the private sector. We know that the earlier you seek advice the more likely you are to be able to avoid the cost, stress and time involved in an employment tribunal.

"And whether you are a solicitor or hairdresser, our expert adviserswill listen and provide practical advice about your individual situation, no matter how complex the problem might seem. We're     not judgemental and don't take sides. I would encourage anyone that needs advice to come to us for help and advice as early as possible."

The Acas helpline - 08457 47 47 47 - is available from 8am to 8pm, Monday to Friday and from 9am to 1pm on Saturdays. Advice is free and confidential so callers do not have to give their names.

Notes for editors

  1. Acas aims 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.
  2. The independent research was carried out by ORC International and is based on a survey of 915 people who called the Acas Helpline between 31 October and 5 November 2011.
  3. *The ET impact estimate is based on analysis of survey and Acas Management Information data. According to survey data, 40% of current/former employees contacting the Helpline were considering a claim before their call to the Acas Helpline, 64% of these discussed the possibility of making a claim in the course of their call and of those who were considering and discussed making a claim, 23% subsequently did not claim and felt their call was important in reaching this decision. As a role of the Helpline is to provide callers with their employment rights, offset against this is a smaller proportion of callers who submitted a claim following their call to Acas even though they had not previously intended to do so (50% of current/former employees were not considering a claim prior to calling, 18% of these then did discuss the option of making an ET claim and 8% of these callers subsequently made an ET claim and felt their call to the Helpline was important in reaching this decision). Based on the Acas Helpline answering approximately 280,000 calls from current/former employees in 2010/11, this equates to an estimated net ET claim avoidance of approximately 14,000 cases.
  4. The Acas Helpline provides guidance for employers and employees on resolving employment disputes and understanding employment rights and rules. More information about the helpline can be found at www.acas.org.uk/helpline.
  5. For media enquiries or to arrange an interview please contact Shumon Rahman/Clare Carter on 020 7210 3688, Lou Owen on 020 7210 3920 or Kirsty Fitzjohn on 020 7210 3648. For out of hours media enquiries please call the out of hours duty press officer on 07825 691093.