Acas has published its 2018-2019 Annual Report, showing an increase in demand for its individual dispute resolution service following the Supreme Court decision in July 2017 to abolish tribunal fees.
People have to notify Acas before they lodge an employment tribunal claim. Acas then offers to help them reach settlement and avoid tribunal by using its voluntary 'early conciliation' service.
Acas Chair, Sir Brendan Barber, said:
"This is my final year as Chair of Acas, which has seen another very busy period for our individual dispute resolution service following the abolition of tribunal fees. Demand for early conciliation rose by over 20 per cent and there’s been a 40 per cent jump in Acas cases that involve tribunal claims compared to the same period the previous year.
"We have also helped to settle 4 out of 5 disputes between groups of workers and their employer. Our collective conciliation service has dealt with several rail networks and their trade unions over the past year, such as Northern Rail, Merseyrail and London Underground.
"With the wellbeing of staff recognised as a major workplace issue, Acas has been at the forefront in developing a new framework for positive mental health at work, which has already been used by some well-known British and international companies within their workplaces."
Key facts and figures from the report include:
- Acas's individual dispute resolution service has continued to see an increase in demand. Overall, notifications have increased by 21% compared to the same period the previous year and the number of cases involving a tribunal claim has increased by 40 per cent. Acas recruited and trained 98 new staff to meet the challenges of the increase in workload due to the abolition of tribunal fees.
- Acas continued to conciliate to prevent or resolve disputes between groups of workers and their employer with 607 national and regional disputes in a wide range of sectors in 2018 to 2019. Pay or pay-related matters was the top cause of disputes. Acas helped to settle 84% of these disputes.
- There were 1,237,245 contacts through Acas's helpline and advisory services such as the telephone helpline, helpline online, web chat and Facebook messages.
- Acas trained nearly 50,000 people on a range of workplace topics including the latest changes in employment law.
- Acas uses insight gathered from its research and from working with millions of people, employers and stakeholders every year to inform and influence workplace policy and debate. This knowledge has led to Acas developing a new framework for positive mental health that has been presented at conferences and within workplaces across the country.