Smarter Resolutions programme: randomised control trials

These protocols detail how Acas assessed the impact of content created as part of the Smarter Resolutions programme.


Smarter Resolutions programme: Randomised Control Trial A (Workstream 1: post-notification)

Smarter Resolutions programme: Randomised Control Trial B (Workstream 1 and 2: pre-notification content and notification form)

Smarter Resolutions programme: evaluating Workstream 3 (optimised distribution) and Workstream 4 (large group claims)


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'