These protocols detail how Acas assessed the impact of content created as part of the Smarter Resolutions programme.
In 2021 Acas started the Smarter Resolutions programme, which aims to improve the user journey for early conciliation. Early conciliation is a process through which Acas talks to both the claimant and the employer about a dispute. It offers the chance to come to an agreement without having to go to an employment tribunal.
The programme has 4 workstreams, which are evaluated using different methods.
Workstream 1 (content strategy) and Workstream 2 (assisted notification)
Workstream 1 (content strategy) was evaluated through a randomised control trial (RCT A) and accompanying process evaluation. This assessed the 'post notification' content – content for claimants and their representatives after they notify Acas that they intend to submit an employment tribunal claim.
Workstream 1 and Workstream 2 (assisted notification) were evaluated through randomised control trial B and an accompanying process evaluation. It assessed:
- pre-notification content created by Workstream 1 – content that aims to help claimants and representatives have a better understanding of the early conciliation process, before they make a claim
- the notification form created by Workstream 2 – used by claimants and representatives to notify Acas they intend to submit an employment tribunal claim
Workstream 3 (optimised distribution)
Workstream 3 (optimised distribution) was evaluated using a quasi-experimental approach alongside qualitative methods. The evaluation assessed:
- the improved capture of and system for logging conciliator availability, location and work profiles
- development of an algorithm which automatically organises and distributes cases to the right conciliator or team according to this information
Workstream 4 (large group cases)
Workstream 4 (large group cases) was evaluated using a comparison of pre-intervention and post-intervention case data and qualitative methods. It assessed:
- auto-allocation of large group claims (any group cases where there are more than 10 claimants) to the group claims team
- changes to the group notification form, to enable claimant representatives to add additional information and give permission for conciliators to speak to respondent(s) first
- a respondent allocation report, which helps the group claims team spot cases with 'same facts same respondent'