The 2005/06 annual report from ACAS shows record numbers of people using its helpline and website services to get advice and guidance on employee related issues.

ACAS states that calls to its national helpline in 2005/06 rose for the fourth consecutive year with over 900,000 calls received on a large range of issues.  The main issues were related to discipline and grievance, redundancy and layoff and maternity and paternity rights.

In addition, ACAS highlighted an increase in applications to tribunals from 81,833 last year to 109,712 this year, and increase of 34%.  Unfair dismissal continues to be the single largest category of complaint with almost 36,000 applications.

Dave Marchant, MD of Developing People Ltd, said: ‘The increased demand seen for ACAS’s services along with the rise in applications to tribunals, points to a greater awareness of employees understanding as well as exercising their rights, but sadly without the associated improvement in skill and understanding amongst managers and employers about how to manage people appropriately.’

Dave Marchant believes: ‘The best way forward is for professional training providers like Developing People and organisations such as ACAS to continue to promote good employment practices backed up by effective management training.  In this way we will not only generate greater awareness and understanding, but also help managers to develop the necessary skills to manage their staff fairly and effectively.  It is after all in the best possible interest for all parties concerned.’