The ACAS Research Paper 'Analysis of the nature, extent and impact of grievance and disciplinary procedures and workplace mediation using WERS2011' by Professor Stephen Wood (University of Leicester), Dr Richard Saundry (Plymouth University) and Professor Paul Latreille (University of Sheffield) has been published.

The report reveals:
  • Adoption of formal procedures for dispute resolution is now almost ubiquitous
  • There is little to suggest that mediation is being used at an early stage to prevent disciplinary and grievance matters entering formal procedures or resulting in litigation
  • Instead, mediation use appears to be a response to experiencing employment litigation or increased levels of conflict
Commenting on this, Professor Wood said: "There is a reluctance on the part of line managers to use mediation at the front end of a grievance or discipline case, or to pre-empt cases, as they may feel they should be able to deal with the issues themselves or be reluctant to admit there is much of a problem."

Dr Saundry added: "Windows of opportunities for dealing with disputes are often missed and cases escalate, positions become entrenched, and it is often only when all other options have been exhausted that mediation is used as a last resort."

The report is based on analysis on two government surveys, the Workplace Employment Relation Surveys of 2004 and 2011.