The Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act 2013 introduced the concept of Early Conciliation involving ACAS. ACAS stands for Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service. It is a publicly funded independent organisation. This means that after the 6 May 2014 anybody wishing to commence a claim in an Employment Tribunal must first make an Early Conciliation notification to ACAS. There are some exemptions which we can discuss with you. However, in the majority of cases no claim can be commenced without this process.
Although the initial notification is compulsory, the process itself is voluntary, free and confidential.
The notification is most easily made through the ACAS website and we can help with this. Otherwise you can ring ACAS on 0300 123 1122.
The process is available to employers as well.
If agreement is reached the conciliator will prepare a binding agreement known as a COT3.
If agreement is not reached, the conciliator will produce a certificate. No claim can be commenced without this certificate. Until 6 May 2014 all Tribunal claims had to be lodged within three months of the end of the employment. From 6 May 2014 the notification to ACAS must be within the same three month period but the time limit to apply to a Tribunal can be extended by one month from the date of the ACAS certificate.