Statistics from the first year of the Acas mandatory early conciliation system reveal that 15% of employees notifying Acas of a potential claim settled without filing a claim. Acas settlements were also reached in over half of the 22% of cases that did proceed to the tribunal, while 63% of employees did not file a tribunal claim after notifying Acas of their dispute.
The early conciliation system was introduced in April 2014 to encourage employers and employees to settle disputes without recourse to the tribunal system. Despite criticism of the introduction of another hurdle to bringing a claim (and the sometimes tricky impact of the process on the time limits for employees to bring claims), these figures appear to show that the system is having some success.
Acas have also published a lengthy study about users’ experiences of early conciliation (the full report is available here). Perhaps surprisingly, satisfaction with Acas is high at 83%, with nearly everyone saying they would use the service again. The report also revealed that 26% of claimants who did not settle and decided not to bring a claim were put off by the tribunal fees introduced in July 2013 – perhaps a relevant consideration for the Court of Appeal, currently considering their judgment in UNISON’s appeal in their judicial review of the tribunal fee system.