Employment law specialist Bibby Consulting & Support has warned even though the latest tribunal statistics show a 15 per cent fall in the number of claims, the truth is that employers still consider the process a major source of frustration.
The company was responding to figures published by the Ministry of
Justice (MoJ) in the Annual Tribunal Statistics 2011/2012. Managing
Director Michael Slade welcomed the news that the overall number of
claims had dropped, but questioned whether this drop was actually being
felt by micro and small businesses – and if indeed whether some elements
of the reports were being overlooked.
Slade commented: “Statistics can be diced in different ways to present
different insights according to the views you represent. So while the
MoJ’s headline is a 15% drop if you dig a little deeper you get a
different picture. For example, when looking at the impact on small and
micro businesses who are more likely to face single claims – the report
shows 2 per cent fewer claims compared to the previous period. However,
set that against the fact that there were 6 per cent fewer disposals and
this actually means a net rise of 4 per cent. While you could of course
argue that these figures are relatively static, they are not the 15 per
cent headline being put across by the MoJ."
Slade also called for a breakdown of the statistics to show trends for micro and small businesses.
“This is where the impact of a claim is really felt," he said. "For
medium and large enterprises they may have in-house HR or legal
functions, and most certainly broader management teams compared to micro
or small firms where the disruption is often at director/owner level,
which obviously means a proportionately larger burden on management. So,
in this case, smaller in terms of the size of the company definitely
means bigger in terms of real impact on the business."
Slade concluded: "We are delighted to see that the overall number of
applications is coming down. However, the government must do more to
ease the burden for small and micro businesses specifically. The fees
for tribunal applications are clearly an obvious route for this but
frustratingly we are no further on from seeing this implemented. The
Prime Minister has regularly stated that small and micro businesses are
the life blood of the economy and so he must stand by his word and do
more to help them.”