Information for Individuals

What happens when I fill out the notification form?

When you submit your form to Acas we will automatically send an acknowledgement either to you or your representative if you have named one. This is usually sent by email, by post if not. The acknowledgement will provide you with a record of the key details you have given us – your name, the name of the organisation or person you want to make a tribunal claim against and the date of receipt. This means that you don’t need a screenshot of your form or to send in a hard copy form to retain these details because your acknowledgement provides this for you.

We will contact you as soon as we can after receiving your notification – the precise timing depends on the numbers of notifications we are dealing with at the same time, but we will always make contact within a few working days. When we contact you we will briefly explain Early Conciliation to you, check your details to make sure we’ve got them right, and ask you for a brief summary of what your claim is about. An Acas conciliator may then offer to discuss your case in more detail, both with you and your employer to see if it’s possible to help you both to resolve your differences without the need for a tribunal claim. If you have named a representative, then Acas will have these discussions with that person instead.

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Important note about details on the notification form

Please make sure that you provide the correct name and address for yourself and for the employer, individual or organisation you are complaining about (i.e. the respondent). You should be able to identify this by looking at the letter that offered you your job, your contract of employment or your payslip. It is important that you tell us the correct name (i.e. the "legal identity" of the respondent) because otherwise it could mean:

  • having to make another notification - which could make you run out of time for making a tribunal claim; or
  • having your tribunal claim rejected - if the name on the notification form does not correspond to the name on the tribunal form if it gets that far, the tribunal can reject your claim.

If you want to make a claim against more than one respondent (employer, individual or organisation) you must complete a separate form for each one even if it is all part of the same matter. Forms that contain more than one respondent will be rejected, causing a delay in your notification.

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How long will the process take?

By default Early Conciliation offers a calendar month in which to try to reach settlement, but this can be longer or shorter depending on how useful it is in the circumstances. Each case is different.

The deadline for presenting a claim to tribunal is extended whilst discussions take place, so you don’t have to worry about preparing your claim, and your employer doesn’t have to worry about defending it in writing. You can both concentrate on resolving your differences. If it becomes apparent that Early Conciliation isn’t going to be able to help, we will draw it to a close and you will be free to pursue your claim to tribunal. You will have at least one calendar month after Early Conciliation in which to do this. Of course if you were already late for making a tribunal claim you will still be late when Early Conciliation is finished – it can’t wind the clock back. We can continue to help after the initial Early Conciliation period if more time is needed, and we will contact both parties again as or when you make a tribunal claim. First we try to help you both resolve your differences without the need for a claim to be made, and then we try to help you avoid the need for a hearing if a claim is made.

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Why should I use the Acas Conciliation Service?
Acas can help you get a clearer idea of the strengths and weaknesses of the case, and if your employer is willing, explore options to settle your differences. If this is possible, you will both avoid the time, expense, risk and stress of going to a tribunal. Settlement terms are agreed by you not imposed on you. This means you both have more control over the outcome, possibly including things tribunals can’t give, like a reference.
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Can someone submit the notification on my behalf?
Only if you’re part of a group of people wanting to make a claim against the same employer about the same issue(s). Otherwise the notification should be made by you. You don’t need a representative but if you have one, you can add their details on the notification form and Acas will then liaise directly with them instead of you.
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How will my employer be involved?
Your Acas conciliator will want to speak to your employer to see if they are interested in trying to resolve things before you make a tribunal claim. Acas conciliators do not take sides or pass judgement. They will encourage both you and your employer to be open and honest about the issues because that’s the best basis for you to attempt to resolve your differences. They will not pass on information you don’t want to be shared. Conciliation is a confidential process so a tribunal can’t take what anyone says in conciliation into account. The conciliator will only discuss things with your employer if you agree.
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What if I’m going through an appeal or grievance process?
Before you do anything else you should consider using your organisation’s appeals or grievance procedure if they have one, or letting it run its course if you’ve already started it (unless this means you would miss your deadline for putting in a tribunal claim). Putting your claim in before giving your organisation the chance to resolve it can reflect badly on your case at tribunal, and if you’ve already lodged an appeal or a grievance the Acas conciliator will need to wait for it to finish before Early Conciliation can start. An Early Conciliation notification can be made at any time during your limitation period so you are likely to have more time than you think. If you are not sure about your options you can get information and guidance from an Acas Helpline adviser to help you make up your mind. The Acas Helpline number is 0300 123 1100
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Can I go straight to an Employment Tribunal instead?
There are circumstances where you do not have to make a notification, but Early Conciliation is available to you even so. We think it’s better to give it a try than not. You can read more about exemptions Early Conciliation Explained. Where you have any doubt about whether or not an exemption applies we think it’s better to notify us than not.
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What Acas will do with the information I provide?

Any personal information you provide will be held securely and your personal information will not be sold or traded to third parties.

We believe it is important to evaluate our conciliation service in order to identify any improvements we could make, by surveying users. We would only pass on your information to an independent research organisation therefore, who might invite you to take part in a voluntary survey in connection with your application. Your personal information will still be held securely and will not be sold or traded to any third parties.

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