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ACAS Exceeds targets in the face of rising employment tribunal claims

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Acas, the employment relations service, today released new figures showing that employment tribunals and potential employment tribunal claims passed to Acas for conciliation rose a quarter (24.9%) on last year. Despite the statistics, Acas – in its 2007/8 annual report – also revealed that it exceeded its performance targets for the year, demonstrating key contributions made to improving organisations and working life through better employment relations. 

Statistics from the report include: 

  • Acas conciliation succeeded in reducing the potential workload of Employment Tribunals by 75%, slightly up on last year
  • 81% of workplaces reported an improvement in employment relations following intervention by Acas advisers compared to the 70% target that was set
  • The percentage of users for whom guidance helped solve a problem at work or reassured them they had taken the right course of action was 76%, exceeding the target of 65%.

Ed Sweeney, Acas chair, said: “These figures from the annual report really speak for themselves. Acas has continued to play a central role in the employment relations arena not only in resolving disputes but also in providing valuable advice and guidance to employers and employees.” 

One of the high profile successes of the last year was the role Acas played behind the scenes in helping resolve the Royal Mail dispute alongside the Trades Union Congress, preventing widespread disruption for UK businesses. Acas also continued to address issues at the forefront of the workplace, including health and wellbeing and vulnerable workers. Pilot schemes in Birmingham and London aimed at helping vulnerable workers are ongoing.

Looking ahead to 2009, Acas will be preparing for the implementation of the new dispute resolution system, following the Gibbons review and announcement in February by Pat McFadden that Acas will receive up to £37 million extra funding over the next three years. 

John Taylor, Acas chief executive, said: “Much of our work over the next 12 months will focus on expanding our services and intervening earlier in individual disputes in anticipation of the changes to the law from the Employment Bill which is likely to come into effect in April 2009.” 

Research published in November last year by the National Institute of Economic and Social Research showed that for every pound spent by Acas, over £16 is returned, generating benefits worth almost £800 million a year across UK businesses, employees and the economy.





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