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Early Conciliation Update: how effective is the new system?

30th September, 2014

As we have previously reported, Acas launched its new concept of Early Conciliation in April 2014, which became mandatory as of May 2014. Since then, employment lawyers have eagerly awaited information on whether the new system has been a success.

Early Conciliation requires a prospective claimant to an Employment Tribunal claim to notify Acas of their intention to submit a claim before they are actually eligible to do so. The aim of Early Conciliation is to settle disputes without the recourse to litigation. Early Conciliation can also be initiated by employers, should they wish to settle a dispute before it potentially becomes a claim against them.

The recently published first-quarter statistics show that during the first month of Early Conciliation, 1,000 notifications were made to Acas each week. However, when the process became mandatory in May 2014 that figure increased to 1,600 notifications per week. The total number of Early Conciliation notifications submitted during the first quarter was just over 17,000.

Whilst some of those 17,000 notifications remain on going, Acas has reported that around 11,000 have concluded the Early Conciliation process during the first quarter. 16.5% of the concluded Early Conciliation notifications settled their dispute and a further 19% will not be pursuing an Employment Tribunal claim.

It would appear that Early Conciliation has been less attractive for employers to initiate given that only 3% of the notifications during the first quarter came directly from employers.

Employment Tribunal statistics from the Ministry of Justice show a 71% drop in claims (70% of which being single claims) during the period from April to June 2014 compared to the same quarter last year. Perhaps more significantly, there has been a one-third drop in single claims from the first quarter of this year, to the post-Early Conciliation quarter.

For further information and advice in relation to Early Conciliation, please contact Claire Brook on 01244 405575 or send an email to [email protected].

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