Sharp increase in use of Acas conciliation service
New figures released this month by Acas have revealed a sharp increase in the use of the pre-claim conciliation service by businesses and employees trying to avoid employment tribunal claims, with around 300 referrals being received every week on average.
Monthly calls to the Acas helpline which have resulted in cases being referred to the early conciliation service – pre-claim conciliation (PCC) have almost doubled since September 2009. The free service aims to settle workplace issues which could escalate to an expensive tribunal. The PCC service was launched in April 2009 alongside the new Acas Code of Practice on Disciplinary and Grievance Procedures.
By the end of February 2010, 8,304 PCC referrals had been made from the Acas helpline since the service was launched to accompany changes to the Employment Act in April last year. Acas estimates that over 5,000 tribunal claims have been avoided already.
Rising demand for the service has resulted in a steady increase in referrals culminating in over 2,700 in the last quarter of 2009. The first quarter of 2010 is on track to exceed this figure by at least 20%. At the moment around 300 referrals are being received every week on average, and Acas expects this number to rise to about 400 during 2010.
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