ACAS early conciliation may be mandatory

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Consultation is taking place on claimants having to request conciliation via ACAS before they can issue certain proceedings in the employment tribunal.

The proposal is that upon receipt of a completed Early Conciliation (“EC”) form, an Early Conciliation Support Officer (“ECSO”) will make reasonable efforts to contact the claimant to obtain basic information and outline the conciliation process. If the claimant wishes to conciliate, the ECSO will pass the matter to a conciliator. If the respondent is agreeable, the conciliator will have up to one calendar month (which can be extended by a further two weeks with the parties’ agreement) to facilitate a settlement.

Where the ECSO is unable to contact the claimant, or if either of the parties refuse to conciliate, or should the conciliation fail or the conciliation period expire without settlement having been reached, Acas will issue a certificate to confirm that the claimant has complied with their duty. The claimant will then be able to present a tribunal claim, including a unique EC reference number in their application to the Tribunal to confirm compliance.