The Acas Arbitration Scheme
The Acas Arbitration Scheme is an alternative to employment tribunal hearings. Only cases of alleged unfair dismissal or claims under flexible working legislation may be decided. Acas was given powers to draw up the Scheme in the Employment Rights (Dispute Resolution) Act 1998.
The Scheme was introduced as a speedy, informal, private and generally less legalistic alternative to an employment tribunal hearing. It's designed to provide a final outcome more quickly and one which mirrors the outcomes available in an employment tribunal. There are few grounds for challenging the arbitrator's award and appeals can only be made in limited circumstances.
Hearings are conducted by arbitrators from the Acas panel of independent arbitrators. They are chosen for their impartiality, knowledge, skills and employment relations experience. They are appointed on a case-by-case basis and not directly employed by Acas.
Once both parties have signed an agreement to come to arbitration under the Scheme, an employment tribunal can no longer hear the claim. It is important that everyone involved knows this, and how the arbitration process works. For this reason, you can only agree to go to arbitration with the assistance of an Acas conciliator, or through a Compromise Agreement signed after the employee has taken advice from a relevant independent adviser. The Compromise Agreement must conform to the requirements of the Employment Rights Act 1996.
Read about 'The role of Acas in dispute resolution' [127kb] in a guest article created for the IDS Pay Report 1054 August 2010 by a member of Acas staff.
Guidance on the Acas Arbitration Scheme
You can download our guides to different aspects of the Scheme:
- The Acas Arbitration Scheme for the resolution of Flexible Working disputes: A guide to the Scheme [774kb]
- The Acas Arbitration Scheme for the resolution of Unfair Dismissal disputes (England and Wales) [589kb]
- The Acas Arbitration Scheme for the resolution of Unfair Dismissal disputes (Scotland) [294kb].
Acas Arbitration Scheme Q&A
If a case of alleged unfair dismissal has not been resolved by either an Acas settlement or a compromise agreement, parties should speak to the Acas conciliator dealing with the case, or in the case of a former employee who is considering a compromise agreement, their independent adviser.
If the case of alleged unfair dismissal has been resolved by an agreement to go to arbitration under the Scheme, they should contact the Acas Arbitration Section at the address below.Acas National
Euston Tower286 Euston RoadLondon NW1 3JJ
Tel: 020 7210 3742
Fax: 020 7210 3691