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Acas publishes new guidance to help managers manage conflict at work effectively

Tuesday 20 March 2007

Acas, Britain's leading employment relations service, has published a new booklet - Managing conflict at work. The booklet is designed to help employers and employees better understand and manage conflict at work.

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It is a practical guide that covers the signs, causes, management and prevention of conflict as well as sources of help such as mediation or arbitration.

According to a recent report, the average cost associated with employment tribunal claims comes to almost £20,000 per employing organisation each year. Employers spend an average of 15 days management time dealing with a claim.

Many of these claims can start with situations such as employee problems not taken seriously, badly handled discipline interviews or misunderstandings between people – issues which if not dealt with, can become tribunal claims.

Acas Chair Rita Donaghy said "Conflict is a fact of life, but the effect it has on your organisation depends on how you manage it. When managers are not given the necessary skills to resolve issues, it can often seem easier to avoid the situation and hope it will go away, but that is how problems escalate. The benefits of being proactive about conflict management can be significant. The recent CIPD Survey shows that those organisations which provide training in mediation skills typically receive fewer employment tribunal claims than those that do not. So there are real benefits in ensuring employees have the necessary skills to effectively manage conflict."

Acas has over 30 years' experience in good employment practice. Hard copies of the Advisory booklet - Managing conflict at work can be ordered from the publications orderline on 08702 42 90 90. If employers need further help, they can register online for one of Acas' which are available throughout Britain or find information about our Acas . For more specific queries, employers can call the Acas helpline on 08457 47 47 47.

Notes to editors

1. The research referred to in this press notice are from the CIPD Survey report February 2007 on Managing conflict at work which can be obtained from the CIPD website.

2. Acas' aim is to improve organisations and working life through better employment relations. It provides information, advice, training and a range of services working with employers and employees to prevent or resolve problems and improve performance. It is an independent statutory body governed by a Council consisting of the Acas Chair and employer, trade union and independent members.

3. Copies of the Acas booklet can be downloaded free of charge from the Acas website or purchased through the publications orderline on 08702 42 90 90.

For press enquiries please contact Kim Huggins or Estelle Lam, telephone 020 7210 3894/3621