Collective conciliation

When there's a disagreement ('dispute') between an employer and a group of employees, we can help both sides to try to come to an agreement and settle the dispute. This is called 'collective conciliation'.

Collective conciliation is held by a neutral person (a 'conciliator'). The conciliator is impartial. This means they do not take sides. They’re there to help both parties find a solution that everyone agrees to.

How collective conciliation can help

Collective conciliation can be used when both sides cannot reach an agreement in talks between themselves. The conciliator will try to find common ground to help both sides find a way forward.

The benefits of using collective conciliation include:

  • it's free
  • it's voluntary
  • it's confidential
  • both sides can agree outcomes

Independent research shows that collective conciliation helps resolve 9 out of 10 workplace disputes.

Types of disputes collective conciliation can help to resolve

Collective conciliation is used to resolve disputes about:

  • annual pay reviews
  • other pay issues
  • contract terms and conditions
  • changes in working practices
  • discipline and dismissal, if an employee representative or a group of people are involved
  • redundancy consultation and redundancy selection
  • trade union recognition

How collective conciliation works

Collective conciliation is flexible. The conciliator will normally begin by having informal discussions with both sides, either jointly or separately, to understand the issues in the dispute.

They'll encourage both sides to consider their options for finding a solution. They'll help by creating a positive environment to have discussions.

If both sides agree a solution, the conciliator can help them draft a written agreement. 

The conciliator's role is to make sure that everyone understands what has been agreed.

Request or ask about collective conciliation

To request or ask about collective conciliation, contact the Acas Training and Customer Services team.

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