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Legislation finalised to support launch of Early Conciliation

Friday 14 February 2014

Regulations outlining how Early Conciliation will work when the service is launched in April have been finalised, laid in Parliament and published today.

From April this year anyone thinking of making an Employment Tribunal claim will need to notify Acas first. Acas will offer a new free service called Early Conciliation to try to resolve the dispute quickly without the need for legal action. The new free service will allow an extra month to attempt to resolve the dispute before people hit the deadline for making their claim.

Acas Chief Executive, Anne Sharp, said:

Today's announcement gives us certainty about how Early Conciliation will be implemented. This is the last stage in the legal process in readiness for the launch of the new service in just a few weeks time.

We have planned carefully for the launch and will be ready to deliver Early Conciliation from 6 April.

We know from nearly forty years' experience of helping to resolve disputes at work that workplace problems can affect everyone and can be a barrier to growing a business.

Early conciliation will save employers and employees the stress, cost and anxiety of facing an employment tribunal. It will also save taxpayers some of the cost of running the tribunal system.

Acas has been running a similar optional service called Pre_Claim Conciliation (PCC) since 2009. The service deals with around 20,000 cases a year and over three-quarters of these are resolved in a way that does not lead on to a tribunal claim.

Independent research shows that PCC saves employers on average £2,700 in management time and legal costs compared to dealing with an employment tribunal case. The average time to complete a PCC case is just 23 days compared to the months that a tribunal case can take.

If Early Conciliation doesn't resolve the dispute then the claimant will be able to lodge a tribunal claim.

Further information is available from Early Conciliation.

Notes to editors

  1. The Early Conciliation regulations are available to view online.
  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 took measures through the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill to provide for this.
  3. Acas stands for Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service. We aim to improve organisations and working life through better employment relations. We help with employment relations by supplying up-to-date information, independent advice and high quality training, and working with employers and employees to solve problems and improve performance. Acas is an independent and impartial statutory body governed by a Council made up of members from business, trade unions, academia and the law.
  4. The Acas helpline - 08457 47 47 47 - is available from 8am to 8pm, Monday to Friday and from 9am to 1pm on Saturdays. Advice is free and confidential so callers do not have to give their names. Research commissioned by Acas and available at, found over nine out of ten employers (96 per cent) who call the Acas helpline would recommend it to a colleague.
  5. For media enquires please contact Shumon Rahman/Clare Carter on 0207 210 3688, Lou Owen on 020 7210 3920 or Sophia Said on 0207 210 3680. For out of hours media enquiries please call the out of hours duty press officer on 020 7210 3600.