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Early Conciliation

Please note that we are currently experiencing a high level of demand for our Early Conciliation service. At times this may mean we are not able to get back to you as quickly as we would like to.

Read about the improvements we have made - you can also comment on them.

The better way to resolve workplace disputes

Acas' advice is that it is always best to resolve workplace disputes as early as possible. You should always use your organisation's appeals or grievance procedure, if they have one, to try to resolve the dispute. It is important to remember, however, that there are time limits for making a claim to the employment tribunal. Make sure you know your deadline for making a tribunal claim. The Acas Helpline can give advice on internal processes and policies to help you through this (0300 123 1100).

If you can't sort things out directly with your employer, you must notify Acas of your intention to lodge an employment tribunal claim, and we will offer you the opportunity to use Early Conciliation. Most people and their employers want to take part in Early Conciliation to settle their workplace dispute without going to court. Acas Early Conciliation is open to everybody, although in certain situations you may not need to notify us before lodging your tribunal claim (see exemptions).

Reaching a settlement through conciliation is quicker, cheaper and less stressful for all concerned than a tribunal hearing.

Find out more about how Acas can help you resolve your dispute in pdf icon Conciliation explained [128kb].

The Early Conciliation process

After you have submitted the Early Conciliation notification form you will receive an acknowledgement, confirming all the details you have provided - this is a formal record of your submission. Please keep this email (or letter, if you do not have an email account).

Following the acknowledgement you will receive an email containing a telephone number to contact us on. We'll need to check your details, ask some basic questions about your claim and explain the process of early conciliation, this usually takes about 10 minutes. When you call us it would be helpful to have the following information to hand:

  • the Acas reference number, beginning with R or MU, which can be found on the acknowledgement email we sent you
  • a payslip or other document containing your staff number and the name of your employer.

If you are happy to take part in Early Conciliation, and we think we can help, your claim will be passed to an Acas conciliator. The conciliator will talk through the issues with you, or your representative, and the organisation you're intending to claim against to see if a resolution can be found.

To start Early Conciliation complete the Early Conciliation notification form.

More information about what the conciliator can and cannot do is available in pdf icon Conciliation explained [128kb].

Watch Acas conciliator Andrew Cowler talk about Early Conciliation 

Flowchart and infographic

View the pdf icon Early Conciliation flowchart [17kb] or Early Conciliation infographic for more information about how the Early Conciliation process works.

We're making some improvements. Find out more about how we are Improving the Early Conciliation service.