More than 17,000 use Acas early conciliation scheme


Only 7% of employees completely rejected conciliation

More than 17,000 people used the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (Acas) early notification scheme in its first three months, it has emerged.

The scheme was introduced on 6 April 2014, but only became compulsory for anyone considering making an employment tribunal claim on 5 May, under the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act 2013.

In its first quarterly update on early conciliation, Acas said that 17,145 people used the new service from 6 April 2014 to 30 June.

Only 7% of employees and 9% of employers rejected the offer of conciliation completely.

However, a spokesman for Acas said it was not clear at this stage how many cases would settle, be abandoned or go ahead to a tribunal.

The statistics showed that settlements formalised by Acas by using its COT3 document accounted for 16.5% of cases which ended their early conciliation period between April and June.

Claimants who do not end up with a COT3 are given a certificate to say they notified Acas about a potential tribunal claim. Of these almost a fifth, 19%, told Acas they had decided not to take any further action.

Acas said that other cases were resolved informally without the need for a COT3 and in some cases conciliation continued after the end of the early conciliation period.

“Some employees go on to lodge a tribunal claim,” the spokesman said. “Information about the proportion that do so and what then happens in these cases will be important in judging the impact of early conciliation.

“It is as yet too early to provide data on this, as in many quarter one cases there is still time for the claimant to submit a claim and for the details of the claim to reach Acas.”

Anne Sharp, chief executive of Acas, added: “Early conciliation has only been running for three months and it is still too soon to give a comprehensive analysis of the full impact of our new service, but early indications are very positive.”



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