Acas Early Conciliation Scheme Goes Live

May 8, 2014

Acas Early Conciliation Scheme Goes Live

Employers are reminded that the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (Acas) Early Conciliation (EC) scheme went live on 6 May 2014. It is now compulsory for anyone wishing to bring an Employment Tribunal (ET) claim to first send details of their dispute to Acas, which will offer the parties the opportunity to settle the matter through the new, free service. If the offer is refused or the attempt at conciliation fails, the claimant will be able to proceed with their claim.

For the first month after the launch of EC on 6 April 2014, notifying Acas of a potential claim was optional. However, in that period around 1,000 people a week contacted Acas with a view to using the scheme to settle a workplace dispute and 98 per cent of those have decided to try the service.

Normally, there is an initial one month period for settling a claim, although this can be extended by a further 14 days if both parties agree that more time is needed and Acas believes that the claim is close to settlement. However, the first case was settled within 24 hours. In addition, 100 employers have contacted Acas to try EC.

EC follows on from Pre Claim Conciliation (PCC), a similar optional service that Acas used to offer. PCC dealt with around 20,000 cases a year and over three-quarters of these were resolved in a way that did not lead to an Employment Tribunal (ET) claim.

For ET claims lodged on or after 6 May 2014, it is a legal requirement, unless an exemption applies, for the claimant to first notify Acas by completing an ET notification form. ET claims will not be accepted unless this procedure has been followed and a formal EC Certificate has been issued.

Further information on the scheme is available on the Acas website.