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Acas Annual Report and Accounts 2019/20: 50% increase in calls to Acas helpline during lockdown

Acas published its Annual Report and Accounts for 2019/20 on 14 July 2020 covering the year ending 31 March 2020.  The foreword to the report outlines the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on its operations.   Acas helpline saw an increase in calls of approximately 50% per day during the lockdown period as particularly covered in the report, with a spike on one day of around 15,000 calls which is noted to be five times the average daily number of calls answered by Acas.  During the 2019/20 period a total of 800,000 calls were received.

During the 2019/20 reporting year, Acas also received nearly 140,000 early conciliation notifications, an increase of 5% on the previous year.  77% of the notifications handled by Acas did not lead to an employment tribunal claim, either because some type of settlement was achieved or the claimant decided not to proceed with their claim.  Over the 2020/21 year, Acas states that it will implement further enhancements to its conciliation process, including speedier allocation of cases to conciliators, quicker contact with customers over a range of different channels and simplified handling of group claims.

Acas further notes that it has continued to increase its online training initiatives, both on its own and with partner organisations, by delivering webinars to 16,000 delegates.  Across both the old and new Acas websites (as at December 2019), there were approximately 15 million web user sessions during the 2019/20 reporting year which included a record 3.6 million visits, up to the end of March 2020, to COVID-19 advice available on the Acas website.