Since May 2014 anyone wanting to make a claim to an Employment Tribunal must first instruct Acas in order to provide an opportunity to resolve the dispute without the need of progressing the claim further. The idea behind this new initiative is to temper conflict and disputes through mediation.

As soon as Acas is notified, there is a one month window of grace within which a claimant would need to progress a Tribunal claim should they wish to do so. The purpose of this ‘gap’ is to ensure that there is enough time for discussions between affected parties to take place with the intention of seeing if those involved can reach an agreement. Acas has a legal duty to offer conciliation during this time, but there is no agreement that either party must accept any proposed offer.

Early statistics shows that relatively few people reject the opportunity to participate in early conciliation. What’s more, a reported 58% of cases do not progress towards a tribunal claim once they have entered into early conciliation. In most cases, parties are willing to talk through their issues with the hope of settlement. This openness helps to create a better understanding of the dispute for both parties and therefore increases the opportunity for reconciliation.

Benefits for Early Conciliation:

  • Transparency: both parties can gain a clearer understanding of the case, and can explore the options for resolving their differences.
  • It saves money: Early resolution of differences will save any expenses that would have occurred if the case went to Tribunal.
  • It rebuilds trust: It can help avoid a permanent breakdown in trust between employee and employer.