ACAS Early Conciliation:
Since May 2014 it has been a requirement for anyone wishing to take their employers to an industrial tribunal that they first notify ACAS (The Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service) of their intention.
ACAS can then take steps to find a route to early conciliation; trying to resolve the issue before it goes before a tribunal.
This process applies to most disputes, including claims for:
- Equal pay
- Workplace discrimination
- Redundancy payments
- Deductions from pay, holiday pay etc.
- Unfair dismissal
- Flexible working rights
- Rights to time off
If you believe that you have a case that might require early conciliation you can ring ACAS or you can fill an early conciliation form in online at the ACAS website http://www.acas.org.uk
If you are unsure about whether you should begin this process then it might be wise to seek advice from a solicitor or advocate. At Khan McKenzie Solicitors we have a great deal of experience in this field and will be happy to advise you form our offices in Birmingham and Wolverhampton.
Once you have decided to go ahead and have contacted ACAS by one or other of the methods above ACAS will ask both you and the other party if they are prepared to take part in conciliation. Remember: you do not have to take part in this process. It is up to you, though you DO have to inform ACAS of your intentions to go to a tribunal.
Assuming both parties agree to the process, and ACAS are able to work out a suitable settlement then that’s all there is to it. If the parties fail to reach an agreement then you can of course still take the matter up with the tribunal.
If either you or the employer doesn’t agree to early conciliation then ACAS will issue a certificate to that effect which can then be taken to the industrial tribunal.
Right up to the time the case is heard by the tribunal, you can still have matters dealt with by the early conciliation service of ACAS.
It may be helpful to know a little more about the role and function of a conciliator. What will he or she do, and what WON’T they do?
Firstly, the conciliator will talk to both parties to try to achieve a solution. They will explain how a tribunal functions; they will discuss with you all the options available to you; they will try to help you understand the other party’s position and will convey any offers or suggestions made by the other party.
What they won’t do is advise you on whether you should accept an offer. They won’t suggest how your case might be treated by the tribunal and they won’t act as your representative at a tribunal.
In the event that you feel you need a representative, then we at Khan and Co. Solicitors will act on your behalf. This is not something the conciliator can do.
There are a couple of things that you should keep in mind: if your employer decides to take the matter to ACAS before you do, then the time limit for taking your case to a tribunal will not be extended, so it’s always wise to either seek advice before beginning proceedings, or to take the first step yourself and register for early conciliation, as in so doing you ‘stop the clock’ on being able to go to the tribunal and give yourself some breathing space.
You don’t need to go to ACAS if someone else who is involved in making the same claim has already done so.
You also don’t need to go to ACAS if you are making a claim for unfair dismissal and claiming interim relief.
If you are in any doubt about your case or any aspect of early conciliation please call us.
Keeping in view the financial difficulties of clients, we have tailored very reasonable and affordable costs structure for our Litigation matter clients. If you would like to discuss any matter related to Litigation, please contact us through phone +44(121)794 2000 or alternatively make an online enquiry and we will respond at the earliest opportunity. We are very flexible in arranging appointments and offer highly friendly and personalized service with very competitive costs.