A Review of the Economic Impact of Employment Relations Services Delivered by Acas
AbstractAcas aims to reduce the level and impact of conflict in the workplace, and to promote good relations at work. In order to achieve this it undertakes a range of activities, both those required by statute, and those which aim to support these wider aims. The activities undertaken by Acas have an impact on the employers and employees involved, on other businesses and individuals and on taxpayers. Many Acas interventions are aimed at promoting better relationships in the longer term. This report focuses only on the immediate first year economic impact of six key areas of Acas activity: • Individual conciliation • Collective conciliation • The Acas Helpline • The website, publications and communications activities • Workplace projects • Open access training. For several reasons, it has only been possible to provide a partial estimate of the impact, so that overall, the impact is likely to be larger than that estimated here. This is because: • Some of the Acas activities not included, either because of measurement difficulties, or because they are relatively small in scale. In addition central overhead costs have not been attributed to individual services. Overall around a quarter of Acas expenditure has been treated as having a zero impact, although it is likely that at least some of it, particularly workplace training, will also have an impact. • As well as the positive impacts of Acas activities, there are some offsetting losses in the first year, most notably to employment lawyers and to competitors of organisations involved in industrial disputes. In the longer term these losses are eliminated as the economy adjusts and resources are shifted into new areas of activity. But the first year impact has to be reduced to take account of them. • Only the initial impact on workplaces has been taken into account, whereas many outcomes (for example lower absenteeism or other indicators of improved relationships) are likely to continue into future years. • In the case of some Acas services, most notably workplace training, there are some areas of likely impact where there are no current measures available Acas spends around £3½ million a year on workplace training, and an impact survey is due to take place in 2008/09. • In the longer term there are likely to be dynamic impacts on the whole economy from the existence of more productive and harmonious workplaces, both through the potential it offers for a more relaxed macroeconomic policy, and through a greater level of confidence among investors, both domestic and international, in the UK as a place in which to risk their money. This higher investment in turn offers the potential for a higher growth rate, which provides benefits.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by National Institute of Economic and Social Research in its series NIESR Discussion Papers with number 301.
Date of creation: Nov 2007
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