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Website URL : http://www.acas.org.uk/index.aspx?articleid=4170

Acas expertise crucial to success of Early Conciliation

Friday 15 February 2013

Workplace expert Acas has today published its response to the Government consultation on Early Conciliation.

Early Conciliation is a new service that will be introduced from April 2014. It will mean that anybody who wants to lodge an employment tribunal claim will have to notify Acas first who will then have up to a month to attempt to resolve the dispute.

The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills asked Acas to provide Early Conciliation due to the success of a similar voluntary Acas service called Pre Claim Conciliation (PCC).

Acas Chair Ed Sweeney said:

"In 2011/12 our voluntary Pre Claim Conciliation (PCC) service helped resolve over 21,000 workplace disputes saving employers and employees the time, stress and expense of preparing for and attending a tribunal.

"Early Conciliation will give us the chance to help even more people resolve their disputes early. Our current PCC service is free to use for both employers and employees and Early Conciliation will be too.

"At Acas our advice is always that it is better to resolve disputes at the earliest possible stage, ideally in the workplace itself."

In 2011/12 the number of PCC cases that Acas dealt with that did not go on to become an employment tribunal claim increased to 78 per cent from 74 per cent in the previous year.

Independent research into PCC among employers and employees confirms its success. When staff, management time and legal costs are factored in employers save on average £2,700 compared to resolving a dispute once an employment tribunal claim has been made.

Ed added:

"Proactive conciliation that is promptly and appropriately provided is critical to the success of early conciliation.

"That's why it is important that the expertise of our conciliators is recognised when setting the framework for the service. It is their careful judgement and skilful intervention that will lead to the early resolution of more disputes.

"The introduction of the new service means significant changes for our experienced conciliators and systems and processes that support them. We are preparing now to ensure that we are ready to provide a quality early conciliation service from April 2014."

There is more information about Early Conciliation on the Acas website.

Notes to Editors

  1. Acas' response to the Government consultation on Early Conciliation is available from Responses to government consultations.
  2. The Department for Business Innovation and Skills (BIS) announced that Acas would provide a new Early Conciliation service from April 2014 as part of the Resolving Workplace Disputes consultation in November 2011. The government is taking measures through the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill to provide for this. This measure will come into force, subject to Parliamentary process, by summer 2013.
  3. The implementation of early conciliation requires secondary legislation and the development of the necessary administrative process. This consultation sets out how they intend that early conciliation should operate, together with a draft set of rules of procedure.
  4. In 2011/12 less than a quarter of disputes referred to Acas' voluntary PCC service went on to become the subject of tribunal proceedings.
  5. The independent research was carried out among 1,188 employers, employees and representatives who used the service between April and December 2009 and 4027 claimants and employers in Employment Tribunal applications in 2008.
  6. 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 members from business, trade unions, academia and the law.
  7. For media enquires contact Clare Carter/Shumon Rahman PR and Media Manager (job share) on 020 7210 3688 or Lou Owen, Media and Marketing Officer, on 020 7210 3920. For out of hours media enquiries call 07825 691093