Acas and effective workplaces
An Acas case study

Page 4: Acas services

Resolving large scale disputes (collective conciliation)

Although it is the area that most people associate with Acas, only around 10% of its staff work on this. Over the last five years the number of such disputes has been around 1,000 a year and Acas has traditionally become involved once parties have reached a stalemate. It also works with organisations at an earlier stage to help prevent disputes escalating. In recent years Acas has helped resolve some high profile disputes including those involving London Underground, Royal Mail and British Airways.

Resolving disputes with individual employees (individual conciliation)

When an employee believes s/he has been unfairly treated by an employer and they cannot resolve the problem between them, the employee can take their complaint to an employment tribunal. Employees now have over 60 rights covering aspects of employment such as holiday, working time, maternity leave and pay, flexible working and contracts of employment.

April 2014 – a new approach for resolving workplace disputes
Anyone thinking of making an Employment Tribunal claim needs to contact Acas first. Acas’ Early Conciliation service, which began on 6 April 2014, helps employers and employees resolve their dispute quickly and avoid the stress, cost and anxiety of facing an employment tribunal. Find out more at www.acas.org.uk/earlyconciliation
 

Acas has a duty to try to resolve the case before it goes to a tribunal hearing. Acas contacts both sides in the dispute (this could be via representatives such as solicitors or union officers). This is to see if the problem can be resolved through conciliation before reaching a tribunal hearing.

Around 75% of cases are settled or withdrawn at this stage. This is the largest part of Acas' workload, although the number of cases has been declining slowly in recent years. Currently there are around 70,000 cases a year. The largest category (or jurisdiction) of applications to tribunals is claims of unfair dismissal. Acas has an additionalrole in these cases because tribunal panels use the Acas Code of Practice on Disciplinary and Grievance Procedures when deciding whether the dismissal has been handled in a reasonable way. Tribunals need to refer to the Acas Code for reasonable behaviour guidance and the principles behind it. Acas offers a choice in cases of unfair dismissal and where an employee believes their request to work flexibly (e.g. part-time or during different hours) has not been dealt with properly. If both parties agree, they can opt for Acas arbitration - the advantage over a tribunal hearing being that it is less legalistic and not in public.

 

 

Training

Acas offers a choice in cases of unfair dismissal and where an employee believes their request to work flexibly (e.g. part-time or during different hours) has not been dealt with properly. If both parties agree, they can opt for Acas arbitration - the advantage over a tribunal hearing being that it is less legalistic and not in public.Acas 12 Image 1

Acas also offers sessions, specially designed for small businesses, which cover key points about recruiting and employing people. SMEs with fewer than 50 employees often do not have a human resources (HR) management specialist. This lack of HR expertise may be one reason why small businesses are involved in a higher proportion of complaints
to tribunals than would be expected from employment statistics.
It also provides e-learning via its website on a number of subjects such as handling discipline and grievance for those who are unable to or do not want to attend one of its face-toface
sessions. Acas uses a number of ways to deliver the workplace advice and guidance people need on what good practice looks like in day-to-day life at work or how to improve the employment relationship. These include:

• helpline (0300 123 1100)
• Helpline Online www.acas.org.uk/helplineonline
• personal visits from Acas advisers
• guidance on its website
• publications and free resources


Acas' helpline answers around a million calls a year from
employers, employees and representatives on all sorts of
employment relations matters.

Advice and information

Acas uses a number of ways to deliver the workplace advice and guidance people need on what good practice looks like in day-to-day life at work or how to improve the employment relationship. These include:

 

  • helpline (0300 123 1100)
  • Helpline Online www.acas.org.uk/helplineonline
  • personal visits from Acas advisers
  • guidance on its website
  • publications and free resources


Acas' helpline answers around a million calls a year from employers, employees and representatives on all sorts of employment relations matters.

Acas | Acas and effective workplaces

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