In April we alerted you to the new ACAS pre-claim conciliation scheme, which had a voluntary transitional period from 6 April 2014 and became mandatory on 6 May 2014.
Since that date claimants have been required to contact Acas before filing a tribunal claim. Acas will then offer pre claim conciliation for a one month period (which can be extended by two weeks) after which if unsuccessful, the claim can be processed. There is no obligation on either the claimant or the respondent to agree to conciliation during this one month period. Existing tribunal time limits are adjusted to allow pre-claim conciliation before a claim is brought at tribunal.
The statistics for 6 April to 30 June 2014 (their first quarter) are now out. During April around 1,000 people contacted Acas each week. This rose to around 1,600 per week when the scheme became mandatory during May and June. During the quarter the total number of requests made for conciliation was around 17,000, with 3% of that figure being initiated by employers. Of the cases that ended during the quarter, either by settlement or issue of an early conciliation certificate allowing the employee to claim, 16.5% resulted in a successful settlement, 19% indicated that their cases have been dropped after the early consultation certificate was issued, leaving 64.5% having brought or intending to bring claims.
For the year 2012 to 2013, Acas reported that an average of just 435 cases per week were referred for early conciliation. For that year 52% of those cases settled or resolved. So there does seem to be a significant increase in the number of cases being conciliated, as expected, but there also seems to be a substantial decrease in the success rate, even taking into account the approx 5,800 cases which were still within their conciliation period when the statistics were collated. We will keep an eye on the statistics as the scheme continues and will let you know of any updates.
If you are involved in an employment dispute or would like further information, contact the employment team on 01737 854 500 or email [email protected].