Workplace expert, Acas, which provides advice and conciliation services to prevent and resolve conflict at work, published its annual report last week, showing an increased demand for its services.

Key highlights from the report show that over the period 2021/2022:

  • Acas received 91,000 requests for its individual dispute resolution service from around 156,000 individuals. Over a third of these cases (36 per cent, compared to 31 per cent the previous year) resulted in a positive outcome, and of the complainants who went on to lodge an employment tribunal claim, Acas helped to positively resolve 77 per cent of them.
  • It had very high engagement rates, including 14.7 million web advice sessions, 644,000 helpline calls, with 11,000 people attending Acas webinars and 9,000 people using Acas training.
  • It had 510 requests for formal collective conciliation and successfully settled or progressed the dispute towards a settlement in 94 per cent of cases. Around six in 10 of those disputes were pay-related.

Acas also worked closely with the government and other partners on the big workplace issues of the year, publishing practical advice on flexible and hybrid working, dismissal and re-engagement (sometimes known as fire and rehire), coronavirus (COVID-19) and return to work.

In order to prevent a dispute from reaching the stage of an employment tribunal wherever possible, Acas offers both parties free, confidential and impartial alternative dispute resolution services in an attempt to settle the dispute quickly and effectively, without the costs and stress associated with judicial determinations.

With negotiations around pay continuing to dominate headlines, however, Acas is advising the parties that achieving success in pay negotiations requires creativity and space to find mutually acceptable outcomes, with real effort needed to find transitions which are fair to workers but which also support long-term sustainable business.

The agency warns that there are still high levels of unrest within the workplace. Although most are pay related, other main causes of conflict involve changes to terms and conditions and recognition agreements.

To read the report in full, click here