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How will Early Conciliation work?

Acas Early Conciliation, which will be launched on 6 April 2014, is part of a new approach to dispute resolution aimed at helping employers and employees avoid the stress and cost of going to an employment tribunal. But how does it work?

Anyone seeking to make an employment tribunal claim for most types of workplace disputes will have to contact Acas first.

Individuals intending to make a tribunal claim will need to notify Acas first via Acas's website. Acas will then telephone not later than the following working day to clarify details, get a better understanding of the issues and start to explore settlement.  This first conversation will also be a good chance to ask about the Early Conciliation process.

The case will then be passed on to an Acas conciliator, who will aim to contact both parties within a working day of receiving the case. Conciliators won't take sides, make judgements or attempt to predict the outcome of a hearing - but they will try to help both sides come to an agreement.

These conversations are conducted on a 'without prejudice' basis, meaning that anything said during these discussions cannot later be used in a tribunal.

If an agreement still can't be reached, then the complaint may go on to a tribunal.

Until the launch of Early Conciliation, Acas can still help you resolve disputes early through its existing free service, Pre-claim conciliation - a free Acas service.

Acas can help you build effective working relationships, develop the way you manage discipline and grievances and explain how you can use mediation in your workplace; visit Disputes and mediation: how Acas can help.

Acas also offers practical training on Conflict management, including Dispute resolution and Mediation.

Visit the Acas Training Courses, Workshops and Projects area for more information.

This news content or feature has been generated by a third party. Commentary, opinion and content do not necessarily represent the opinion of Acas.

We recommend that you explore further information and advice available on this website, particularly within our Advice A-Z guidance pages. If you have questions about workplace rights and rules visit Helpline Online.

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