The Advisory Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS) is an independent, impartial organisation mandated to liaise with both parties to an employment dispute with regard to possible settlement.
In its annual report, ACAS acknowledges that there has been a sharp increase in demand for its dispute resolution services. The services are aimed at resolving disputes in the workplace, without recourse to an employment tribunal and includes early conciliation, mediation support, collective conciliation and arbitration.
ACAS’s Annual Report also found that:
- ACAS was involved in 621 collective disputes;
- ACAS received 105,754 notifications for early conciliation, finding a resolution in over 72,000 cases which saved the UK an estimated £100 million;
- The ACAS website, accessed 14.4 million times, remains popular amongst employees and employees who are seeking guidance on workplace rights; and
- ACAS helplines received 649,000 calls.
Employers are reminded that ACAS’ services can be initiated by them, not just employees. If an employer considers that employment tribunal proceedings may be issued against them, but the prospective claimant has not yet provided information to Acas to trigger the early conciliation procedure, the employer can contact Acas and request the services of a conciliator.