ACAS and The Early Conciliation Process
ACAS (Advisory Conciliation Arbitration Service) are an independent service funded by the government. All employment claims must go through the Early Conciliation Process with ACAS before being submitted to the Employment Tribunal.
It is recommended that you try and resolve the dispute internally with your employer before going to ACAS.
It is vital that you consider any time limits in your claim as you may lose your right to bring a case if you exceed the limitation date to commence proceedings.
Early conciliation takes place before going to the Employment Tribunal. It is a type of arbitration (negotiation) between yourself and your employer, facilitated by an ACAS conciliator and free of charge as a form of dispute resolution.
It is voluntary, confidential and the process is often quicker than taking your claim to a tribunal. Early Conciliation gives you and your employer the chance to explore settlement and potentially reach an agreement without having to go to the Employment Tribunal.
How Does it Work?
Once you inform ACAS you want to bring a claim against your employer, you have the option to choose early conciliation, which could resolve the dispute without the need to go to the Employment Tribunal.
If you choose early conciliation, you will be asked to provide ACAS with some details of the dispute. They will follow this up with a telephone call or email.
ACAS will then clarify the details you have provided and your appointed conciliator may ask you some additional questions to help them to understand the dispute as a whole. They will also ask how you wish the dispute to be resolved.
The conciliator will then contact your employer to see if they would be happy to participate in early conciliation. If so, the conciliator will talk to each of you to see if you can reach a resolution.
If a settlement is reached the details will need to be recorded in a written agreement and signed by both parties.
If a settlement cannot be reached you will then be given a certificate which you will need to be able to commence proceedings at the Employment Tribunal.