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ACAS Study - 7 out of 10 claims avoided

24/05/2016

ACAS has a statutory duty to promote the resolution of claims, by means of its conciliation service, in order to settle claims and avoid claims moving to a full hearing.

ACAS have had this duty for many years. However, there have recently been some significant changes. These started in July 2013 with the introduction of new fees for employees if they wanted to lodge a claim. This significantly reduced the number of claims (a claim is made by completing an ET1 form) and the number of claims fell by 80%.

In April 2014 there was the introduction of a new ACAS Early Conciliations Service. This meant it was mandatory for employees intending to lodge an ET claim to contact ACAS in the first instance, to see if the dispute could instead be resolved through Early Conciliation.  ACAS conciliation remains available after a tribunal claim has been lodged until the court date.

The new independent study has shown that seven out of ten claimants avoided going to court after receiving help from ACAS.

There also continues to be challenges to the (relatively) new tribunal fees. However, the study showed that the reasons people did not proceed with claims, was not wholly about fees. The study said 27% withdrew because they thought they would not win or that it was a waste of time, 17% said they found the process too stressful and 20% said that the tribunal fees were off putting (page 66).

The Study shows generally good news for employers but does not mean that employers are safe from claims or should become complacent. While there are clearly fewer claims and more settlements, the ones that do proceed to hearings tend to be more complex and more costly to defend.

You can view the full ACAS Study here.

Paula Fisher. You can contact Paula at paula@practical-hr.co.uk


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