Roles and responsibilities: independent sources of advice - the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (England, Wales and Scotland)
The Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (Acas) is an independent organisation whose job is to promote good employment relations. It aims to improve the performance and effectiveness of organisations by providing a service to prevent and resolve disputes and to build harmonious relationships at work. It seeks to:
- prevent and resolve employment disputes
- conciliate in actual or potential complaints to tribunals
- provide information and advice
- promote good practice
Acas do not impose outcomes or make judgments on the rights or wrongs of the matter in dispute. They simply try to help people settle their differences in their own terms. The conciliation service is designed to be:
- impartial (Acas do not take sides, tell people what to do or make judgments)
- confidential (anything said to an Acas counsellor will be kept confidential if requested and cannot be used as evidence at a tribunal without the permission of the person who said it)
- voluntary (parties take part only if they want to and can withdraw at any point)
Acas may also be involved when a worker makes a claim to an Employment Tribunal (NMWM02100). They will try and help the two parties reach agreement before the case reaches the tribunal. This may include negotiating a settlement and withdrawing the claim.
Acas took over the running of the helpline (NMWM02045) in March 2015.
The equivalent organisation in Northern Ireland is the Labour Relations Agency. (NMWM02090)