ACAS (Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Services) is a non-departmental government body with the aim of improving business practices and working life.

They do this through the development of positive employment relations.

ACAS supports employers and employees and holds an important role in the tribunal process, maintaining responsibility for the Early Conciliation Scheme.

ACAS does a range of things, including conciliation, arbitration, establishing codes of practice, research and guidance.

About ACAS

ACAS oversees a number of different services and procedures.


Before bringing a tribunal claim, it's necessary to notify ACAS first. ACAS enters into Early Conciliation with the individuals to attempt to reach a settlement without entering the tribunal system.

However, if the process is unsuccessful, the claim will proceed, and ACAS will continue to provide conciliation until the hearing. ACAS provides both individual conciliation and collective conciliation.

Collective conciliation helps employers and employees' representatives to reach agreement on issues that affect groups of employees.

This can include issues such as pay, and terms and conditions. ACAS also has a mediation service to help organisations resolve conflicts.

They provide accredited training for internal mediators and help organisations set up their own mediation schemes.


ACAS has an Arbitration Scheme to handle cases without an employment tribunal.

A flexible working claim or unfair dismissal can be handled with arbitration, with an arbitrator assessing evidence submitted by each party to make a decision.

The arbitrator can decide whether compensation, reinstatement or re-engagement is the appropriate course of action.

Their decision is legally binding and the process and result is confidential.

Codes Of Practice

ACAS publishes codes of Codes of Practice for employers, which include both statutory and non-statutory guidelines.

These codes are often used in tribunals and whether a code has been followed or not can affect the awarding of compensation.

ACAS offers tailored training based on their guidance to help organisations follow their recommendations.

They provide online training through Acas Learning OnLine as well as other tools, training programmes and employer network forums.

Research And Guidance

ACAS carries out research to stay up to date on relevant employment issues and provide better guidance.

They identify emerging employment issues through their research.

They regularly publish papers and commentaries, working with policy makers improve understanding of workplace issues.

They publish documents to help improve working life and offer information on best practice for both employers and employees. 

ACAS offers impartial advice to employees through their Helpline and Helpline Online services.

People can call or get support online to help them resolve any issues that they might be having.

For more complicated issues, they also provide an in-depth project to help businesses find the right solutions.

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About the author 

James Rowland

James is the Commercial Director at Neathouse Partners and regularly writes articles surrounding issues in HR & Employment Law. Outside of the office, James is a keen Cricketer, playing in the Cheshire League for Nantwich CC. He also loves going to watch his football team, Crewe Alexandra. Feel free to connect with James on LinkedIn.