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The results of recent studies commissioned by Acas into its a Pre Claim Conciliation (PCC) service suggest that the introduction of Early Conciliation, which is due to take place next year, will prove beneficial for employers and employees.
Acas currently offers PCC as a way to help resolve workplace disputes through early intervention. Studies show that nearly nine out of ten employers who used PCC said that they would use it again, and two thirds of employees would advise a friend or relative to use PCC if they were involved in a similar dispute.
The Government plans to introduce Early Conciliation (EC) in the first half of 2014. EC will make it mandatory to contact Acas and consider resolving a dispute outside of employment tribunal with the help of a conciliator. It is intended to become a key component of the workplace resolution process, and the Government has said it will continue to work with Acas to ensure there is clear support and guidance for business and employees.
Acas Chief Executive Anne Sharp said:
"In 2012/13 our voluntary Pre-claim conciliation - a free Acas service helped resolve over 22,000 workplace disputes, saving employers and employees the time, stress and expense of preparing for and attending a tribunal. We know from independent research into PCC that when staff, management time and legal costs are factored in employers save on average £2,700 compared to resolving a dispute once an employment tribunal claim has been made.
"Early Conciliation will give us the chance to help even more people resolve their disputes early. These surveys show that our conciliators and support officers are well prepared for its introduction. Our current PCC service is free to use for both employers and employees and Early Conciliation will be too.”