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First-quarter Early Conciliation stats in from Acas

Acas has published the first quarterly Early Conciliation figures since its introduction on 6 April 2014, showing that 17,145 people used the service in the first three months of its operation.

During the first month until 5 May, the service was voluntary, in which time there were around 1000 notifications per week.

After it became mandatory the figure shot up to 6,544 notifications in May, equating to around 1500 notifications per week, and then rose again to nearly 1,600 notifications per week in June.

Acas said the figures were in line with what they had expected to receive.

'Early Conciliation has got off to a good start and has given us the chance to help more people resolve their disputes early,' said the Acas chief executive Anne Sharp.

Rejections and resolutions

Relatively few people rejected the offer of conciliation. Less than 7 per cent of employees (1,122) did so, compared with less than 9 per cent of employers (where the employee accepted).

Two-thirds of the cases (11,355) ended their Early Conciliation phase within the quarter.

One in six of these were settled through Acas conciliation with a formal document called a COT3.

Almost one in five told Acas informally that they were not taking the matter further.

Of the rest, some cases are resolved informally without a COT3, and others continue with some kind of conciliation beyond the Early Conciliation period.

Some go on to lodge a tribunal claim - how many do this 'will be important in judging the impact of Early Conciliation', Acas said.

'It is as yet too early to provide data on this, as in many Quarter 1 cases there is still time for the claimant to submit a claim and for the details of the claim to reach Acas.'

Even so, commentators generally welcomed the early evidence that both sides were using the opportunity of Early Conciliation to find ways to resolve their problems outside of tribunals.

Acas publications and services

Detailed information on Early Conciliation is available from Acas, including the pdf icon Conciliation explained [128kb] and pdf icon Early Conciliation flowchart [17kb].

Acas experts can visit your organisation and work with you to improve employment relations, mediate in workplace conflicts, and introduce an internal workplace mediation scheme; see Disputes and mediation: how Acas can help for details.

Practical Acas training in Conflict management could give you a better chance of sorting out any problems before they get out of hand, with courses in Dispute resolution and Mediation.

For free, impartial advice on any employment relations issue, visit Helpline Online.

Visit the Acas Training Courses, Workshops and Projects area for more information.

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