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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!

Upcoming events in your area

Annual Seminar for Solicitors and HR Executives

Update your employment law knowledge at our highly acclaimed specialist conference where our leading experts will provide practical and informative insights into recent and forthcoming case law and statutory developments.

Our keynote speakers this year will be Judge Richard Byrne, Regional Judge South East, and Professor Owen Warnock, Professor of Employment Law at the University of East Anglia and senior partner in Eversheds LLP.

To book your place visit our Annual Seminar for Solicitors and HR Executives page.

Behaviours at work - understanding the unacceptable  - New event

Unacceptable behaviours, such as bullying and harassment or aggressive attitudes, can lead to increased levels of absence, staff turnover, and lower staff morale which can reduce productivity.The effects of unacceptable behaviours are harmful to all concerned and potentially expensive for organisations with real reputation risks an issue.

This event provides delegates with valuable information about what constitutes unacceptable behaviour and bullying and harassment. We outline what the law says (in regards to the Equality Act) and the views of the Tribunals. We then look at the responsibilities you have as an employer and the implications for choosing not to address these issues.

To book your place visit our Behaviours at work - understanding the unacceptable page.

Getting the best from your workplace - Engaging with staff  - New event

This course will look at a range of ways to engage with staff and get more from your workplace - from recruiting and managing people to addressing and rewarding performance across a range of job types.

The course aims to give delegates skills and tips on getting more from your people. We will look at the different types of contracts and working patterns you can offer workers to maximise flexibility and performance and delegates will have the opportunity to learn more about properly engaging and consulting with staff.

This event is designed to give people managers new skills and valuable lessons they can take back into their organisation to help improve productivity and efficiency on an ongoing basis.

To book your place visit our Getting the best from your workplace - Engaging with staff page.

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.

Mediation - improving management skills - an essential management skill

Supporting those with people management responsibility. This course will enable delegates to deal more effectively with interventions/conversations to improve working relationships within their team.

To book your place visit the Mediation page.

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

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

Expert Acas training to help you get it right from just £95 + VAT

95% of delegates would recommend Acas workplace training to other organisations.

We run authoritative training courses for small business and larger organisations. For specific requirements we can customise training sessions to run in-house. We also work closely with organisations to assess their current situation and give recommendations on improvements that will increase efficiency.

All our training sessions can be delivered in-house. Contact our customer service team for more information on 0300 123 1150.

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

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.

Business 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 and Business Solutions page.

Employer and business enquiries

If you would like to talk through any employment relations issues with your local Acas advisor, please complete our Customer contact form.

Where to find the Acas East of England regional office

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Certificate in Internal Workplace Mediation