Acas’ 2009/10 annual report shows that it dealt with more than 900 collective disputes in the past year. Ninety-four per cent of cases, including high profile disputes such as Royal Mail and Milford Haven Port Authority, were either resolved or the parties were moved towards a resolution.
The report also shows that Acas dealt with more than 85,000 (net) employment tribunal cases for individual conciliation, an overall increase of 13% from 2008/2009 and the highest number ever. While the figure was a record for the year as a whole the trend is now in reverse – the number of cases received for conciliation in the second half of 2009/10 was three per cent lower than the equivalent period in 2008/09.
Nearly 10,000 cases were referred to pre-claim conciliation in 09/10 – the early conciliation service which aims to resolve workplace issues before they escalate into costly and stressful tribunal claims. In 70% of completed cases where PCC was appropriate, tribunal claims have been avoided, saving time and money for taxpayers, employers and workers. It is estimated that completing employment tribunal paper work alone costs employers on average £2,000 a case.
With a million calls, it was also a record year for the Acas helpline which provides advice and guidance to employers and employees on workplace problems. Redundancy, dismissals and discipline and grievance were the most popular topics.
Acas continues to play a critical role in helping employers find more creative ways to avoid redundancy and boost economic recovery with more than 20,000 employers and employees attending an Acas training course during the year.