Workplace expert Acas has today published its 2021 to 2022 annual report outlining the critical role the organisation plays in supporting the country's businesses and their staff.
The report shows that businesses continue to need Acas's expertise in the face of the ongoing challenges of the pandemic, cost of living crisis and labour market shortages.
Key highlights from the report show:
- in 2021 to 2022, Acas received 91,000 requests for its individual dispute resolution service, from around 156,000 individuals – 36% of these cases resulted in a positive outcome, and of the cases that went on to lodge an employment tribunal claim, Acas helped to positively resolve 77%
- 36% of early conciliation cases were positively resolved by Acas, compared to 31% in 2020 to 2021
- businesses and employees value Acas advice, with very high engagement and satisfaction rates – this includes 14.7 million web advice sessions, 644,000 helpline calls, with 11,000 people attending Acas webinars and 9,000 people using Acas training
- Acas handled over 500 disputes between an employer and a group of workers, represented by a trade union – around 6 in 10 of these disputes were pay-related
- Acas worked closely with the government and other partners on the big workplace issues of the year, publishing practical advice on flexible and hybrid working, dismissal and re-engagement (sometimes known as 'fire and rehire'), coronavirus (COVID-19) and return to work
Despite a year of success, Acas is reiterating its advice that preventing a workplace dispute is always preferable to trying to resolve one.
With negotiations around pay continuing to dominate headlines, Acas is also advising that achieving success in pay negotiations requires creativity and space for all parties to find mutually acceptable outcomes, with real effort needed to find transitions which are fair to workers and support long-term sustainable business.
The organisation has also highlighted its strong suite of tools and advice services that are available to help business owners and managers to build good workplace practices and prevent conflict, including free confidential advice, online training and tailored support packages.
Acas Chief Executive, Susan Clews, said:
"It is a tricky time for businesses who are facing significant financial pressures from rising levels of inflation and labour market scarcity, and for workers who are impacted by the cost of living pressures.
"Employers tend to call on our services in their most difficult moments and employees when they are at their lowest ebb. When workplace issues arise, working and personal relationships can suffer and there is a cost to effectiveness, efficiency and productivity.
"That is why Acas's services are so critical and our efforts appreciated by those we help. We are proud to make such a tangible, positive impact on the lives of so many people and our services remain available to businesses and employees across Britain."
1. The reporting period for the latest Acas annual report is from 1 April 2021 until 31 March 2022.
2. Acas offers tailored support for businesses to solve workplace issues.
3. Acas research, Estimating the costs of workplace conflict, shows that workplace conflict costs British businesses almost £30 billion per year.