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Dispute Resolution Reaches Record Demand

Dispute Resolution Reaches Record Demand


In a recent HR Magazine article, Millicent Machell reports there has been a surge in demand for dispute resolution services. Acas, the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service, recorded a significant increase in its handling of cases. Both the number of helpline calls and early notifications has risen dramatically, emphasising the importance of resolving conflicts outside of court. Early conflict resolution has many benefits for both employers and employees.

Acas saw a record increase in demand for dispute resolution services between 1 April 2022 to 31 March 2023. The public body handled over 600 collective conciliations in 2022-23, compared to 500 the year before.

There were 649,000 calls to the helpline and 105,000 early conciliation notifications, in which Acas speaks to the employer and employee separately to try and resolve a dispute. It’s new website advice for employers and employees on conflict resolution also received 14.4 million visits.

Susan Clews, Acas chief executive, said resolving disputes outside of court saves employers and employees time and money. She said: “We also helped over 72,000 individual dispute cases avoid the need to progress to a costly tribunal. With the cost of workplace conflict in Britain estimated to be £28.5bn per year, our services continue to be a critical national asset.”

More than one in three workers experience conflict at work, an average of around £1,000 for every UK worker, according to research from employment expert group ReWAGE.

Richard Saundry, author of the ReWAGE report, said the pandemic exacerbated workplace conflict.  Speaking to HR magazine, he said: “Conflicts were arguably put to one side during this time and have now resurfaced. Also, if you add into the mix, the growth of remote working, impacts on mental health and wellbeing and problems of staff retention, the environment is one in which conflicts between staff, managers and organisation can escalate.”

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