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Posted 24 November 2014
by Simon Sanger-Anderson

The effect of ACAS early conciliation revealed

From 6 May 2014 most claims brought in the Employment Tribunal must be subject to early conciliation through ACAS. Six months on, ACAS has released data to show the level of effectiveness in the service:

  • Over 37,000 early conciliation notifications have been made (April to September 2014), with one of the parties indicating they did not wish to engage in the conciliation process in about 20% of these cases;
  • Just 18% of cases (April to June 2014) resulted in a formal COT3 settlement;
  • 24% of cases (April to June 2014) progressed to a tribunal claim;
  • 58% of cases (April to June 2014) did not either result in a COT3 settlement or proceed to a tribunal claim.

While some of the 58% of cases may include situations where employer and employee reached an agreement without a formal COT3, this seems a high percentage. It could reflect the cost and stress of tribunal proceedings, the realisation that a claim is weak, or in some cases the speculative nature of the original approach to ACAS.

If the effect is that the weaker cases are removed, we may see an increase in the proportion of issued claims that succeed. Whether this is the case remains to be seen. The cynics amongst us may believe the real reason behind the decline is due to the new fee structure but the figures are interesting food for thought for an employer invited to undertake early conciliation.

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About the author

Simon Sanger-Anderson

Consultant and Solicitor

Consultant and solicitor within the firm's registered providers team