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ACAS reports increase in demand for services
The 2005/06 annual report from Acas shows record numbers of people using its helpline and website services to get advice, guidance and training on employment relations issues.
According to Acas, calls to its national helpline in 2005/06 rose for the fourth consecutive year with over 900,000 calls received on a wide range of employment issues.
The top three topics covered were discipline and grievance, maternity/paternity and redundancy/layoff issues. There was also a rise in the number of people accessing the Acas website with 1.7 million visits.
Acas' seven e-learning packages, covering areas such as absence management and bullying and harassment, attracted over 25,000 registered users last year. Acas said they also delivered 2,964 training sessions to over 40,000 delegates in 2005/06.
According to the report, there were 109,712 applications to tribunals compared to 81,833 last year. Unfair dismissal continues to be the largest category of complaint with 35,944 applications. Acas said they dealt with 952 large-scale disputes in 2005/06 compared to 1,123 in 2004/05.
Rita Donaghy, Acas chair, said: "We have had another busy and challenging year. Our commitment to improving organisations through better employment relations continues to drive the development of new Acas services.
"Last year, we introduced 'The Acas Model Workplace' to help organisations identify the features of an effective workplace, developed key partnerships, prepared new guidance for the age regulations and continued to help small businesses develop good employment practices.
"Acas' integrity, impartiality and fair dealing means more and more people are using our invaluable helpline and website services to access good practice guidance. The challenge for us now is to continue to develop and maintain our high standards and help more organisations realise the benefits of good employment relations."
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