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New Early Conciliation service goes live

Anyone thinking of making an employment tribunal claim will now have to contact Acas first, under the new Early Conciliation service.

Anne Sharp, chief executive of Acas, recently explained for PSE readers how the introduction of the new Early Conciliation service will change how workplace disputes are dealt with in the future.

As of yesterday, 6 April, Pre Claim Conciliation (PCC) became Early Conciliation and, under the new rules, Acas will try and resolve disputes quickly without the need for legal action. It is hoped that this new, free service will build on the success of PCC.

Prior to the introduction of Early Conciliation, the PCC service dealt with around 20,000 cases a year since it began in 2009 and over three-quarters of these did not go on to be submitted to an employment tribunal. According to Acas, this saves employers and employees the stress, cost and anxiety of associated with the tribunal process.

In fact, independent analysis has found that Acas’ free early dispute resolution service, PCC, has benefited the country’s economy by around £19m.

Sir Brendan Barber, Acaschair, said: “This study demonstrates the economic benefits of dealing with workplace disputes at the earliest opportunity. Early Conciliation will give us the chance to help even more people resolve their disputes early as well as save taxpayers some of the cost of running the tribunal system.

“We know from previous independent research that PCC saves employers on average £3,200 in management time and legal costs compared to dealing with an employment tribunal case.

Employment relations minister Jenny WillottMP said Early Conciliation is good news for employees and employers.

"Under our new free scheme anyone considering lodging a claim with an employment tribunal will now contact Acas before they submit their claim,” she said. “If both parties agree, Acas will attempt to resolve the dispute for free to see if a tribunal can be avoided.”

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