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Contacting Acas for early conciliation is mandatory from 6 May.
The early conciliation (EC) scheme – under which anyone considering bringing an employment tribunal claim must first contact Acas to see whether the dispute can be resolved through conciliation – came into force on 6 April 2014 for a transitional month, during which parties could undertake EC if they so wished but were not obliged to do so. However, since 6 May 2014 a potential claimant must now contact Acas before presenting most employment tribunal claims – Reg 4(1) of the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act 2013 (Commencement No.5, Transitional Provisions and Savings) Order 2014 SI 2014/253. Acas has now published information on how EC has been received over its first, non-mandatory, month of implementation.
Acas states that since the launch of the EC scheme in April, around 1,000 people per week have contacted Acas about EC. Acas has also had 100 employers contact it about EC over the course of the month. Following this initial contact, 98 per cent of those who contacted Acas have decided to try out the service, with the first EC case settling within 24 hours.