The Majority Of Disgruntled Workers Want To Resolve Their Disputes Out Of Court

Only 7% Reject Early Conciliation Since New Scheme Launched

03.09.2014

David Shirt, Press Officer | 0161 838 3094

According to statistics published today by ACAS,  the vast majority of UK employees are keen to settle workplace disputes through early conciliation rather than through the courts.

The statistics, which are the first to demonstrate the impact of new laws designed to reduce the number of Employment Tribunals, show that in the first three months since their launch, 17,145 early conciliation notices were received by Acas.

Out of that number 16,605 were lodged by employees and 540 via the employer.  The ACAS figures show that offers of conciliation were rejected by 7% of employees who were in dispute with their employer during the period. In the case of employers, 9% rejected the request where the employee had already agreed to go ahead with conciliation.

Following a Freedom of Information request made by law firm Irwin Mitchell, it was also found that the average length of time for an Early Conciliation certificate to be issued was 20 days. 

Introduced by the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act 2013, the Early Conciliation scheme now makes it compulsory for employees wishing to lodge a Tribunal claim to first notify ACAS, the individual being prevented from bringing a claim if they have failed to take this step. At this point both parties are given the option of resolving the dispute through an Acas conciliator.

Early conciliation has been available since April this year and on 6 May the requirement to notify Acas became compulsory.  If either side does not wish to conciliate after the Claimant has contacted ACAS about the complaint, ACAS will issue a conciliation certificate. The certificate will also be issued if no agreement can be reached after a month.   Without this certificate, a claim will not be accepted by a tribunal.

Fergal Dowling, Employment Partner at national law firm Irwin Mitchell, said

Expert Opinion
These statistics point to a positive start for Early Conciliation. It is too early to judge what the impact will be on the future numbers of Employment Tribunals, but employers will no doubt be encouraged and welcome these findings.”
Fergal Dowling, Partner