The annual Tribunal Statistics have been published today. These are not the annual Employment Tribunal Statistics, which provide a useful overview of the amoutn of awards, the success of claimants in different jurisdictions, etc, but rather the statistics for the Tribunal service as a whole.
Accordingly, the information they tell us about the Employment Tribunal is limited to not much more than the total number of claims (partly broken down by jurisdiction). Those with eagle eyes will have noticed that the information was leaked, in any event, to the Telegraph last week.
What the figures show is that the total number of claims has continued to decrease: from 236k in 2009/10, to 218k in 2010/11 and now 186k in 2011/12. More revealingly, still, the number of unfair dismissal claims has also fallen, albeit only from 47,900 to 46,300
Apparently, the overall picture is a 15% decrease in group claims, and a 10% decrease in individual claims.
These figures are not surprising: they show that
1) The fastest-falling groups of claims are those (eg equal pay claims) that are typically brought by people who remain in work. On one explanation, workers are “voting with their feet”, and saying that they do not dare to bring these sorts of claims at a time where dismissals remain endemic and where Tribunals are perceived as offering only relatively weak protection against victimisation. (It may alternatively be relevant that the big “single status” deals in health and education are receeding into the past).
2) No-one generates figures for the number of dismissals a year, and so no-one of us can say with any certainty what the relationship is between the number of dismissals and the number of unfair dismissal claims, and whether “dismissal-by-dismissal” claims are becoming more or less common, but (after a couple of months in which unemployment has fallen) it is plausible to believe that the number of dismissals has at the very least reached a plateau; this is reflected in the dismissal figures which are marginally, but not dramatically, lower than a year ago.
3) Contrary to press predictions, there has been no discernible rise in discrimination claims. It’s nice to note that on that score, at least, the press were wrong and the lawyers were right.
Finally, there are also some intersting figures on how long it takes to dispose of the median unfair dismissal or redundancy pay case (23 weeks), race or sex (1-2 years) or eqal pay claim (3-4 years). The figure for unfair dismissals may actually underestimate the time taken as it appears to lump together some pure money claims – which you would expect to be heard quickly – eg for redundancy payments – with ordinary unfair dismissals, which you would expect to require a CMD as well as a full merits hearing. It’s also not clear whether these time estimates include delays caused by appeals.
Hat-tip to Daniel Barnett