Workplace expert Acas has published a new independent study on how its conciliation service has reduced the need for employment tribunal hearings.

The law changed in 2014 and now anyone thinking of making an Employment Tribunal claim has to notify Acas first. Acas then tries to resolve the dispute quickly without the need for legal action through its free conciliation service.

Acas conciliation is still available after a tribunal claim has been lodged until the court date. The new independent research published shows that seven out of ten claimants avoided going to court after receiving help from Acas.

Acas’ post-claim conciliation has also been highly successful with eight out of ten users being satisfied with the service; and over nine out of ten employers and a similar percentage of claimants (87 percent) said that they would use Acas conciliation again.

Acas Chair Sir Brendan Barber said:

“Our advice is that it is always better to try and resolve a workplace dispute at the earliest possible stage. But anybody who finds themselves in a position where they are considering legal action should definitely consider our free conciliation service first.

“New independent research published today shows that seven out of ten potential employment tribunals have been resolved or avoided thanks to our help.

“These encouraging findings, alongside the high levels of satisfaction from both employers and individuals who have used our service, are a testament to the professionalism and expertise of our conciliation staff.”

Over half of claimants said that taking part in EC made it quicker to resolve their employment tribunal claim;

Over three quarters of claimants and more than eight out of ten of employers were happy with amount of contact they had with Acas;

Among claimants and their representatives who withdrew their cases, 20 percent felt that the tribunal fees were off-putting and 17 percent felt it was too stressful to continue.

Over six out of ten claimants who took part in Early Conciliation (EC) felt better prepared for the subsequent employment tribunal claim process.

Acas has also published new figures on its conciliation service which summarise performance for its second full year of EC.

Acas has dealt with over 92,000 EC cases between April 2015 and March 2016. This is nearly 1000 more cases compared to the same period last year; and the company has been approached directly by employers requesting conciliation in over 4,000 cases – an increase of nearly 60% on the previous year.

Rebecca joined the HRreview editorial team in January 2016. After graduating from the University of Sheffield Hallam in 2013 with a BA in English Literature, Rebecca has spent five years working in print and online journalism in Manchester and London. In the past she has been part of the editorial teams at Sleeper and Dezeen and has founded her own arts collective.