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Posted by on in Employment Tribunal
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Acas responds to workplace disputes consultation

The Acas Council has welcomed the Government's proposal for all potential employment tribunal claims to be offered early conciliation with Acas first. In its submission to the Government's consultation document 'Resolving Workplace Disputes', the Council said the plans would enable the expansion of Acas' successful Pre-Claim Conciliation (PCC) service.

 

Over three quarters of disputes that are appropriately referred for PCC do not go on to become tribunal claims but the scope of the service is currently limited by the fact the Acas Helpline is the main source of referrals. Although this provides substantial coverage, the proposals the consultation puts forward would enable Acas to reach all potential claimants.

 

The submission also shows that Acas:

 

  • Support the proposal of a 'stop the clock' provision to allow early resolution of the potential claim.
  • Disagree with the proposals that unfair dismissal cases should normally be heard by an employment judge sitting alone, and that the Employment Appeal Tribunal should be constituted to hear appeals with a judge sitting alone.
  • Believe there is a risk that if organisations make routine use of compromise agreements in nearly all terminations some managers could grow over-reliant on them as a 'safety net', and might be less inclined to embark on the difficult conversations necessary to address issues such as behaviour, performance or attendance at an early stage.
  • Believe mediation should not be regarded as a 'cure all', but as one component of an overall conflict management strategy which includes effective training for managers and workplace representatives; and is underpinned by fair, effective workplace procedures applied consistently in appropriate circumstances.

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