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Poll finds HR professionals welcome early conciliation

Poll finds HR professionals welcome early conciliation

Two-thirds of HR professionals welcome the introduction of early dispute settlement by the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (Acas).

This is according to a poll conducted by Personnel Today, which reveals that 65.3 per cent of respondents believe early conciliation constitutes a positive step in tackling workplace disputes. 

Just 6.3 per cent of those polled disagreed with the statement, while 28.4 per cent were undecided.

Gill McCarthy, director of operational policy and performance at Acas, said it was positive from the perspective of her organisation that most respondents welcomed early conciliation.

Most of the audience of a live webinar held by Personnel Today (52.5 per cent) believe the level of tribunal fees is about right, while 28.4 per cent think they are too low and 12.7 per cent oppose them entirely. Just 6.3 per cent said they thought fees are too low.

Acas recently announced the introduction of the early conciliation service, which means claimants will need to contact the organisation before lodging an employment tribunal claim from May 6th.

The process is designed to save people the time, cost and anxiety involved in undergoing an employment tribunal.

Independent research has found that the pre-claim conciliation (PCC) process – the forerunner of early conciliation – has benefited the British economy by around £19 million.

Over three quarters of the 20,000 cases a year that the PCC has dealt with were not referred to an employment tribunal. 

The research also found that the average cost to employers of claims dealt with through PCC was just £475, with employers spending an average of just one day on a claim. This compares with an average of £3,700 and four days for an employment tribunal.

Acas chair Sir Brendan Barber said: "Early conciliation will give us the chance to help even more people resolve their disputes early as well as save taxpayers some of the cost of running the tribunal system."

The polls were conducted during a live webinar held on April 9th, with the vast majority of respondents describing themselves as HR professionals. The number of respondents ranged between 891 and 901.