May 2014, the Early Conciliation system will be introduced. This means it will be a requirement for individuals to contact Acas before they can bring an ET claim, so that conciliation can be offered. Claims will be rejected by an ET if it cannot be shown that the individual has first contacted Acas. The system is available from 6th
April 2014, but will be optional until 6th
May 2014, when it will become mandatory.
In practical terms, the Early Conciliation system means that when one of your employees/ex-employees is considering bringing an ET claim against you, they must contact Acas first, and, if the individual wishes to enter into conciliation, Acas will then contact you to let you know, and ask if you wish to enter into conciliation. However, there may be circumstances where you do not receive this contact from Acas before a claim is made: either because the individual does not wish to enter into conciliation, or because the particular claim he/she is considering does not require it.
Peninsula will provide free representation at the Early Conciliation stage to existing clients, subject to contract. This means that we will undertake all communication with Acas for you, so you don’t have to.
To make the most of the Early Conciliation Representation Service, you should:
inform Acas, when they call you, that you are represented in all employment law matters, and you will be passing this matter to your representative, who will shortly be in touch with Acas;
call Employment Advice Services immediately to inform them that you have been contacted by Acas;
Employment Advice Services will then forward your details to our Early Conciliation Representation Team
who will then undertake all contact with Acas for you, after taking your instructions, and keeping you up to date with all progress.
Successful Early Conciliation will result in a binding agreement preventing a claim being brought to tribunal. If conciliation fails, or either party does not wish to engage in the process, the employee/ex-employee will not be prevented from bringing a claim.
It’s important to remember, a call from Acas regarding Early Conciliation does not mean that a claim has been brought against you – the call simply means that someone is considering making a claim and wants to try to negotiate a settlement before the complaint reaches ET stage.
As mentioned above, not every claim will be subject to the Early Conciliation system, and therefore, in these circumstances, an individual may still begin proceedings by lodging an ET1 with the tribunals service and not by Early Conciliation.
If you need to take any action or need further clarification please call the Peninsula Advice Service on 0844 892 2772.