Avoid tribunal, try Early Conciliation

ACAS discusses Early Conciliation and how to avoid tribunalsFrom 6 April 2014, it may become easier to avoid taking workplace disputes to tribunal, thanks to a new service called Early Conciliation.

Workplace issues and disputes are stressful and can have a real impact on small businesses. At Acas, we know it’s always better to resolve issues at the earliest possible stage, ideally in the workplace itself. But there are times when a dispute can’t be resolved in-house, which potentially can lead to a tribunal claim being made.

Saving time is saving money

From 6 April, anyone wanting to make a tribunal claim will first need to send a simple free online form to Acas and we’ll get in touch to offer Early Conciliation. Our aim is try to resolve a dispute quickly without the need for legal action. This will save employers and employees the stress, costs and anxiety of facing an employment tribunal.

Quick, free, fast and easy to access

We’ll contact the person making the claim within a working day to clarify any details and explain the process. If both the claimant and employer agree we’ll have up to a whole calendar month to see if the conciliator can help resolve the issue. If a resolution can’t be agreed then a tribunal claim can still be made and help from Acas will remain available throughout the period leading up to a hearing.

Our experience from our existing Pre-Claim Conciliation (PCC) service, which we’ve been running since 2009, has shown us that discussing the issues and thinking about options for resolving things sooner really does help get solutions. We know that 70% of the people that used PCC are from small organisations with fewer than 50 employees in the workplace.* This is why we believe that it is worth giving Early Conciliation a real go – there’s nothing to lose from trying. For further information about the benefits of Early Conciliation and how it works visit www.acas.org.uk/earlyconciliation.

Acas – what else do we offer?

Whether you’re an employer or an employee you can get free advice by calling our helpline 08457 47 47 47 or by visiting www.acas.org.uk for a range of free downloadable guides. Go to www.acas.org.uk/helplineonline for instant answers to your workplace questions. We also have a range of step-by-step guides aimed at small businesses and are free and easy to read, just go to: www.acas.org.uk/stepbystep. We also offer more specialised services, including training, workplace projects, individual conciliation and mediation.

*This statistic comes from the most recent PCC evaluation carried out: Evaluation of Acas’ Pre-Claim Conciliation Service 2012 (TNS BMRB, 2013, ref: 06/13).

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