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New Helpline research reveals contracts as top concern in British workplaces

Friday 27 March 2015

Study reveals that over two out of five employers improve workplace policies after using the Acas Helpline

New independent research published today has found that employment contracts are the biggest grey area for callers seeking advice from the Acas Helpline, closely followed by issues around dismissal, discipline and grievance.

The Acas Helpline (0300 123 1100) is a free confidential service for employers and employees that provides impartial advice on any workplace issue.

The study highlights that over two out of five (42%) of employers changed or improved existing workplace policies as a result of their call to Acas, providing a lasting impact on workplaces.

Other findings include:

  • 93 per cent of callers are satisfied with Acas Helpline;
  • 96 per cent callers would recommend to a friend or colleague;
  • Nine in ten (89 per cent) callers found the information valuable;
  • Nine in ten (87 per cent) of callers agreed that their expert Helpline adviser had fully answered their enquiry.

Andrew Wareing, Chief Operating Officer, said:

"These latest findings demonstrate how much the public value our Helpline and appreciate the workplace expertise they receive from our staff.

"It is encouraging to see that many employers have made long lasting changes for the better in their workplaces thanks to Acas advice. A simple phone call to our helpline can really nip problems in the bud before they become a potential problem for businesses.

"With around 900,000 calls every year, the service gives us a really good picture of what's troubling both employers and employees. It is clear that 'employment contracts' is a top concern for many callers."

The research also showed that of those callers who had used Acas' Helpline Online tool before calling the Helpline, two thirds (64 per cent) of them felt it had helped them prepare for the call. Helpline Online is a web-based question and answer service for employers and employees to compliment the Helpline telephone service. 

Andrew added:

"Helpline Online is free, available 24/7 and a good way for getting quick fire answers at your fingers tips at any time of the day.

"It can serve as a one stop shop for answers that might be needed in the heat of the moment or as a first port of call before speaking with one of our expert Helpline advisers."

The full report is available here: pdf icon Acas Helpline evaluation 2014 [1Mb].

Notes to editors

  1. The new research by independent research organisation TNS BMRB - is available on the Acas website Research papers. It summarises the findings from a survey of 1,685 customers who had phoned the Acas Helpline across four waves of research, one in each quarter of 2014.  This research was previously run in 2011, 2009, 2007 and 2005. You can find previous research papers on the Acas website.
  2. The web-based service Helpline Online became live in June 2013. It provides automated answers to questions around workplace issues and employment rights.
  3. The Acas helpline - 0300 123 1100 - is available from 8am to 6pm, Monday to Friday. Advice is free and confidential so callers do not have to give their names. The Helpline received 900,000 calls the year that the research was conducted.
  4. From 1 April, the Acas Helpline is expanding to include topics that were previously handled by the Pay and Work Rights Helpline. The Pay and Work Rights Helpline will close on the 31st March.
  5. Acas stands for Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service. Acas provides free and impartial information and advice to employers and employees on all aspects of workplace relations and employment law. We support good relationships between employers and employees which underpin business success. We also provide good value, high quality training and tailored advice to employers. Our expertise is based on millions of contacts with employers and employees each year.  Acas is an independent and impartial statutory body governed by a Council made up of members from business, trade unions, academia and the law. For more information, see About us
  6. For media enquiries contact Sophia Said on 0207210 3680 or ssaid@acas.org.uk For out of hours media enquiries please call the out of hours duty press officer on 020 7210 3600.