ACAS Early Conciliation Process

ACAS Early Conciliation Process

Before being able to make a claim to the employment tribunal, for most types of claim, it is necessary to go through the ACAS Early Conciliation process and be issued with an Early Conciliation certificate. ACAS Early Conciliation can last up to a calendar month. If it seems likely that a settlement can be reached the process can be extended by a further 14 days with the agreement of both parties

If your employer is willing to enter into negotiations, then it is possible that the problem can be resolved at this stage and an agreement reached.  This is called a COT3 agreement.

Your employer might be unwilling to negotiate because for example they believe that they have done nothing wrong.

The factsheets and resources explain what Early Conciliation involves, how to start the process and what you need to consider when negotiating.

Time limits

It is important that you start Early Conciliation in good time otherwise there is a danger that you will be too late to make a claim to the employment tribunal. You should submit the form to ACAS within 3 months less a day from the date of the event that you are complaining about. The fact sheet on ACAS and time limits provides more information.

The time limit calculator can help you work out the last date by which an application to the employment tribunal must be made. The calculator is for information only and you should contact us to calculate the exact date as the calculation can be complicated.

Completing the ACAS Early Conciliation Form

We recommend completing and submitting the form on-line. It is a straightforward form and should take only a couple of minutes to fill in. You will receive an email confirming receipt and instructions on what to do next.

Getting the details right

It is important that you get the name and address of the employer you are complaining about correct. Your payslips, P60 or contract will help you identify the legal name of your employer and searching on Companies House will help if it is a limited company.

Sometimes it can be confusing who your employer is. In such cases you should complete an ACAS Early Conciliation form for each potential employer.

Your employment might be an individual or an organisation that is not a limited company. If you are unsure of the legal name of your employer, then you should seek advice. In discrimination cases you might decide to take action against your employer and the individual who discriminated against you. You should submit a separate ACAS form for the employer and individual.

Preparing to talk to ACAS

The factsheet on contacting ACAS will help you to explain what has happened, assist in identifying your potential claims and help you in deciding what you are hoping to achieve from the conciliation process.

If you are not able to reach agreement with the employer during Early Conciliation then it is still possible to reach a negotiated settlement through ACAS after a claim is made to the employment tribunal.