Employment Tribunal stats: Welcome back, we’ve missed you!

As noted previously on this blog, the introduction of a new Case Management System in March 2021 has led to a dearth of official statistics on Employment Tribunal receipts and disposals. And, in January this year, the President of the Employment Tribunals in England & Wales, Judge Barry Clarke, noted that this ongoing ‘data silence’ was “a cause of immense frustration to the leadership judges of the Employment Tribunals. For obvious reasons, the lack of reliable data was significantly impairing operational and strategic decision-making.”

In October, HMCTS did release some limited data on Employment Tribunal receipts (but not disposals) for the period August 2020 to August 2021, but this simply led some – including yours truly – to question whether it was credible that the number of new cases had fallen by 42% between November 2020 and May 2021 – that is, just when the new Case Management System was being introduced.

Well, yesterday HMCTS not only included some data on both Employment Tribunal receipts and disposals in the latest set of quarterly tribunal statistics, up to March 2022, but also published some new monthly management information up to April 2022. And this confirms not only that the number of new cases did indeed fall by 42% between November 2020 and May 2021, but that it continued to fall further: in December 2021, the number of new cases (2,298) was 51% down on that in November 2020 (4,669). And we have to assume that HMCTS is now pretty confident of the reliability of these figures – so, sorry for doubting you, HMCTS peeps.

In the first few months of 2022, the number of new cases has bounced back a bit, but the new data confirms that the number of new cases has fallen significantly since late 2020, and is now running somewhat below pre-Covid levels.

Anyway, that’s the good news. The bad news is that, with disposals also down slightly, this pretty dramatic fall in new case numbers has not (yet) been matched by a significant fall in the deeply problematic backlog of cases, which – after receding from its Covid-induced peak in late 2020 – has flatlined over the last four quarters. This needs to change.

About wonkypolicywonk

Wonkypolicywonk is a policy minion, assigned wonky at birth, who has been lucky enough to work for two of the very best MPs in the House of Commons, and for Maternity Action, Working Families, Citizens Advice, the National Audit Office, the Law Society, and Amnesty International UK.
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