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New annual report reveals increase in demand for Acas' conciliation service following scrapping of tribunal fees

Wednesday 18 July 2018

Workplace expert Acas has published its 2017/18 Annual Report, which reveals another busy year for Acas.

Acas' individual dispute resolution service has seen an increase in demand following the Supreme Court decision in July 2017 to scrap employment tribunal fees.

Acas Chair, Sir Brendan Barber, said:

"The number of people deciding to pursue a tribunal claim has definitely increased since the Supreme Court decision to scrap fees. Our annual report shows that demand for our early conciliation service increased by nearly 20 per cent and there's been an almost 40 per cent jump in Acas cases that involve tribunal claims compared to the same period the previous year.

"The past year has also seen us deal with a large number of collective disputes such as the university lecturers' strike, CrossCountry trains and the Post Office.

"I want to thank all of our staff who have worked extremely hard to help ensure Acas continues to meet the needs of its customers during a very busy year."

Key facts and figures from this year's annual report include:

  • Acas' individual dispute resolution service has seen an increase in demand due to the Supreme Court decision to scrap tribunal fees in July 2017. Early conciliation notifications increased from around 1700 a week to around 2200 a week following the decision. Overall, notifications have increased by 19 per cent compared to the same period the previous year and the number of cases involving a tribunal claim has increased by 39 per cent.
  • Acas continued to conciliate to prevent or resolve disputes between groups of workers and their employer with 715 national and regional disputes in a wide range of sectors in 2017/18. Pay and employment conditions was the top cause of disputes. Acas helped to settle 92 per cent of collective disputes.
  • The Acas helpline answered 783,000 calls. The top three topic categories were discipline, dismissal and grievances; contracts; and wages and the national minimum wage. Nearly 500,000 users used Acas' online helpline advice service.
  • Acas trained over 40,000 people on a range of workplace topics including the latest changes in employment law.
  • Independent research has demonstrated that the economy benefits by £13 for every £1 Acas spends.

The Acas 2017/18 Annual Report can be seen at pdf icon Annual Report 2017 - 2018 [1Mb].

Notes to Editors

  1. Acas stands for Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service. Acas provides free and impartial information and advice to employers and employees on all aspects of workplace relations and employment law. We support good relationships between employers and employees which underpin business success. We also provide good value, high quality training and tailored advice to employers. Our expertise is based on millions of contacts with employers and employees each year. Acas is an independent and impartial statutory body governed by a Council made up of members from business, trade unions, academia and the law.
  2. 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 early conciliation service. Acas' conciliation is still available after a tribunal claim has been lodged until the court date. For more information about early conciliation, please see Early Conciliation.
  3. Acas' free collective conciliation service can be used when an employer and its employees, usually represented by a trade union, are in dispute over an issue and cannot reach a solution. An Acas conciliator acts as impartial third party in these situations to help the various sides find common ground to reach an agreement. For more information about collective conciliator service, please see Collective disputes.
  4. For media enquiries or interview requests please contact Shumon Ali-Rahman, Senior Media Manager on 0330 109 3642 or email For out of hours media enquiries please call the out of hours duty press officer on 0330 109 7070.