June 30 2010 - In 2009/2010 the Advisory, Conciliation, and Arbitration Service (Acas) dealt with 905 requests for collective conciliation of which 44 per cent involved pay and 14 per cent trade union recognition. The majority (94 per cent) were at least partially resolved.
Some 87 421 individual employment tribunal cases were referred for conciliation; almost all (97 per cent) were successfully resolved. This represents an overall increase of 13 per cent over the previous twelve months.
Nearly 10 000 cases were referred to the pre-claim service introduced in April 2009 that offers prompt conciliation designed to prevent disputes escalating. Results show that tribunal cases have been avoided in about 70 per cent of cases. Acas estimates that simply completing the necessary paperwork for an employment tribunal costs the average employer £2 000.
The Acas helpline received over 1 million calls over the period; redundancy, dismissals, discipline and grievance were the most common issues raised. The service is receiving an increasing number of calls about company survival, addressing subjects such as short-time working schemes.
In April 2010 the Acas Model Workplace went online. This interactive assessment tool offers employers ten modules covering different areas of employment relations including performance management and employee representation. Aimed primarily at organizations with 100-300 employees, the Model Workplace is intended to: help employers assess the effectiveness of people management in their organization; give practical guidance on good employee relations; and connect employers to useful resources.
Ed Sweeney, chair of ACAS said:
As the country begins to emerge from its longest and deepest recession for more than 60 years businesses have been looking for support and guidance. ACAS has helped thousands of businesses over the past year. We have provided advice in the employment relations field, from short practical courses on issues such as improving attendance and managing change, through to in-depth tailored support. Concern about employment issues and, in particular, redundancies, has remained high.'
John Taylor, chief executive officer of Acas commented:
'This has been a very tough year for British business and we have seen demand for our services, especially around dealing with redundancy, increase greatly. As well as continuing to provide conciliation in individual and collective disputes, we have also looked at our other services and the value for money we provide and have identified new ways of improving the British workplace through effective employee relations'.