ACAS has published a research paper evaluating its services in 2016. Employment Tribunal fees were introduced in July 2013 followed by ACAS Early Conciliation in April 2014, making it compulsory for the Claimants to submit an Early Conciliation Claim before they go to an employment tribunal. The number of tribunal claims fell dramatically following the introduction of fees.
ACAS spoke to 512 Claimants after Early Conciliation had finished. ACAS reports overall high levels of satisfaction from both Claimants and Respondents.
52% of claims reportedly settled by COT3, around 22% went to hearing and around 8% reported reaching private settlements.
Length of Service
21% of claimants interviewed had less than a years’ service, and 24% had between 1 and 2 years’ service.
The research indicates the median average financial settlement was around £5,000 (Claimants reported £5,422, employers reported £4,999). Unsurprisingly, settlements reached after a Claimant had issued an ET1 claim form were higher than those achieved during Early Conciliation.
Reasons for not going to an employment tribunal
25% of Claimants said they withdrew their claim because they didn’t think they would win.
20% decided not to bring a claim because of the tribunal hearing fees. 17% of claimants said Acas had been a factor in helping them reach the conclusion to withdraw the case.
ACAS assesses its impact on avoiding employment tribunal claims:
“Acas conciliation achieves a settlement or is deemed important in the claimant’s decision to not take further action in 71 per cent of early conciliation cases”
Long-term sick less likely to settle
Claimants with a continuing illness or disability were less likely to reach a settlement. (Page 59)
HR involvement in Conciliation
“Employers from organisations which did not have an internal HR department were more likely to report taking part in post-ET1 conciliation”
(Page 37, Para 3.2.8)
Employers using legal representatives have a better chance of settling
“Where a representative was used in a case, a settlement was more likely to be reached”
Legal Representative’s Experience?
“I think that’s a mixed bag… there are some that are keener to get a settlement and about half of the settlements we have achieved here have been directly approaching the other side and then we use the Acas service to get the COT3.”
(Representative, Fast Track, Settled at post-ET1 conciliation) (Page 49)