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Caroline Plummer Displays a larger version of this image in a new browser windowAcas East of England works with small, medium sized and large employers and employees throughout Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Essex, Hertfordshire, Norfolk, and Suffolk to improve organisational performance by providing practical expert advice and training. 

Acas believes that introducing simple steps such as back to work interviews can reduce staff absences, increase productivity, and help businesses grow. This is exactly the sort of thing that Acas East of England can help you with through our free advice and training events aimed at small businesses or first time managers.

We also work with many partner organisations including Job Centre Plus and Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) and welcome opportunities to form new business relationships which will help business growth in our region.

Caroline Plummer, East of England Area Director

Q&A with Caroline

What are the issues facing local business?

The needs for organisations to adapt, become more productive, to be innovative, to respond to changes in legislation and advances in technology continue to be important. Confidence in managing change, developing people, dealing with absence and performance issues are key. Recruiting the right people with the right skills continues to be a challenge for local businesses.

How does Acas help?

Acas helps organisations succeed through sharing good practice to address all of these issues and providing practical advice and guidance to develop productive workplaces. We help employers and workers understand employment law and how to deal with any problems or workplace issues that may arise. Locally we tailor many of our services and are keen to know what workplace challenges our customers in the East of England face so we can help solve problems.

In practical terms we can assist in a number of ways.

  • We provide guidance and advice online, by phone or face-to-face on most workplace related topics.
  • Our advisers work with employers and employee representatives (Trade Union and non union) in difficult circumstances to diagnose issues and develop solutions.
  • We offer training on key issues - this can be tailored to meet specific needs and delivered in the workplace.
  • We enable individuals and groups to work together more effectively through our mediation and conciliation services.

What tips would you give for developing good workplace relations?

Good workplace relations rely on good leadership and genuine engagement with the workforce. Effective and timely communication will lead to better decisions, encourage confidence in decision making and help to achieve buy-in to the outcome.

What was the first job you had?

My first job was gardening for my piano teacher during the school holidays. My twin brother was allowed to mow the lawn and I was not. He also received twice as much pay as I did. My first experience of potential inequality!

Acas training

Acas offers a range of training courses designed to improve the skills of managers in your workplace. Event topics include discipline and grievance, absence management, skills for supervisors and much more. View the full range of events hosted by Acas East of England here:

Acas training events

Upcoming events highlights

Recruitment, Retention and Reputation: the new three R's challenging the accountancy world, 20 March 2018 9.15 - 14.00, Holiday Inn, Cambridge

Improving recruitment and retention not only improves the quality of your staff, it improves your bottom line.

Join us and our guest speakers for this half day event specifically for accountants. Gain practical tips and advice as we look at how you can you can ensure your business is on the right track to employing and retaining highly skilled and engaged employees who bring success to your business.

For further information and booking details please contact our Customer Services Team on 0300 123 11 50 or complete our online enquiry form.

CIWM Certificate in Internal Workplace Mediation

Differences between individuals at work can lead to lack of focus on the job, grievances, absences, loss of valuable employees and sometimes Employment Tribunal claims. The cost in terms of time, money and stress on managers and employees is considerable. Mediators work with those in conflict to help them find and agree their own solutions. This 5 day course qualifies you to mediate in your own workplace.

To book your place visit the CIWM Certificate in Internal Workplace Mediation page.

Or call 0300 123 1150 for more information and to book.

Managing Extreme, Persistent and Difficult Workplace Behaviours

This unique workshop develops understanding and strategies to help managers and HR staff at all levels manage this small but very toxic group of any workforce.

Important note - this workshop looks at extreme difficult and manipulative behaviours that go beyond the plan awkward.

View event dates and locations

Employment law updates

Our Employment Law Update brings you up to date on recent changes in legislation and highlights what's planned to come into force in the future; a key consideration for business planning. Our experienced trainers explain the changes in a practical and straightforward way which will help you understand the legal changes and, importantly, the impact for your organisation.

View event dates and locations

HR for beginners

This practical event provides an introduction to the fundamentals of employing people. The course maps the employment relationship from recruitment, to issuing contracts, managing holidays, dealing with absence, discipline and grievance matters through to ending the employment relationship.

View event dates and locations

Essential Skills for Supervisors

Acas offers a suite of events covering the range of people skills that supervisors and line a mangers will need to effectively manage a team.  All training includes interactive group discussions, helpful scenarios and case studies. 

View event dates and locations

For advice on which course is most appropriate for your needs call our Customer Services Team on 0300 123 11 50.

What people say about our training courses

"Realistic, comprehensive training as usual from Acas. Lots of opportunities to discuss the application of legislation and process in our businesses and compare experiences. The Acas tutor facilitated the conversation and led group activity very well indeed. Great value, great venue, excellent quality and very enjoyable."

HR and Communications Director, small family-run property restoration business

"Informative, interesting, valuable"
Leisure Services Manager

"Excellent how delegates are encouraged to discuss in depth"
HR Manager

"Very relevant and clear guidance given."
Company Secretary

The Acas Framework for Effective Leadership

The Acas 'framework for effective leadership' is intended to help managers identify the qualities in themselves, and those around them, to build workplace relationships that are productive, trusting and mutually rewarding.

The leadership model is based upon four levels of understanding and is informed by the thousands of customer interactions Acas advisers have every year. The four levels are.

  1. Know your stuff - This refers to all the nuts and bolts of working life, everything from employment law to disciplinary policies and procedures.
  2. Refine your skills - Here the focus is on communicating, listening, telling, motivating and liaising - in essence, the ability to engage well with people
  3. Be aware of organisational responsibilities - The hardest part of leadership is often balancing individual and group concerns, and encouraging the right behavioural norms.
  4. Strive for those essential characteristics - The best leaders have a personal style that is reflexive, emotionally intelligent and openly accommodates both strength and vulnerability.

Our team of employment relations experts provide business solutions and can address a wide range of your business needs. We offer tailored advice, diagnosis, in-company support and bespoke training programs which can be adapted to your needs.

Solving issues in the workplace

Are you in the middle of a dispute where both sides are reluctant to give any ground? Acas Collective disputes may be able to help you.

Collective conciliation isn't just for large companies like British Airways or the BBC, it can be adapted to help any employers and employee representative bodies settle their differences. If collective conciliation would help your business please call the Customer Service Team on 0300 123 1150 and we will refer you to a senior conciliator in the area.

Find out details of the support Acas offers to organisations large and small on our Case studies page.

Training and business solutions enquiry form - let us know how we can help This link opens in a new browser windowBusiness Solutions

We work with some of the region's biggest private and public sector employers as well as small to medium sized employers - we bring a wealth of experience and fresh ideas that can help you to improve business performance.

Our expert advisers can help you to review your policies, set up works councils and employee forums, handle redundancies, tackle absence, improve staff engagement and much more. Further information is available on our Training Courses, Workshops and Projects page.

Let us know how we can help through our online enquiry form

Keep in touch

Our monthly newsletter will provide you with regular updates on changes to employment law, local events, and top tips based on new guidance we release. You can view recent issues of our newsletters toward the bottom of this page.

Recent issues of the Acas East of England newsletter:

Sign up for the Acas East of England newsletter

Engage with Acas via social media

Acas is active on social media, you can follow us on our Twitter channel or join in the discussion on our LinkedIn group.

Where to find the Acas East of England regional office 

Forest Heath District Council Offices, College Heath Road, Mildenhall, Suffolk IP28 7EY


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Certificate in Internal Workplace Mediation