Acas’ Early Conciliation service will be available from 6 April 2014. Contacting Acas will be a required step from 6 May.

How does it work?

Before a person (or their appointed Solicitor) lodges an Employment Tribunal claim, they are obliged to notify Acas by completing a simple online form. Acas will then contact the potential claimant within two working days. ACAS will gather basic information on the dispute itself and provide information about Early Conciliation.

The case will then be passed on to a conciliator who will aim to make contact with both parties and talk through the issues to see if a solution can be found without the need to have to issue proceedings.

Before embarking on this process, we strongly advise that Claimants ensure they seek appropriate legal advice to learn about all the potential legal claims they may have and also the appropriate value of those claims. All this information is required before a claim can be successfully negotiated through ACAS using the early conciliation scheme. 

Find out more about conciliation and how it works from the Acas conciliation services Q&A. You may also find the    Early Conciliation flowchart [17kb] useful, which set out the process of reaching a settlement.

ACAS have structured the service to ensure that each time they receive a request for Early Conciliation they can quickly contact the people involved.

What type of issues will Early Conciliation help resolve?

Early Conciliation will help resolve the majority of workplace disputes which may lead to an employment tribunal, including:

  • unfair dismissal claims
  • workplace discrimination
  • redundancy payments or disputes around selection procedures
  • deductions from wages or unpaid notice/holiday pay
  • rights to time off or flexible working
  • equal pay.

After Early Conciliation is introduced, anybody who wishes to lodge a claim with an employment tribunal will have to provide an Acas Early Conciliation Reference Number. A limited number of exemptions may apply, and the Employment Judge can decide whether they are relevant. People can always notify Acas first, and we will try to help find a resolution.