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Acas Conciliation Research

About the study

Acas are seeking customer feedback about the conciliation service they offer in workplace disputes. This research will help Acas to understand how well the service is working and whether any improvements are needed.

The conciliation service offered by Acas attempts to resolve workplace disputes before they go to an Employment Tribunal. After an employee tells Acas that they intend to make an Employment Tribunal claim, Acas conciliators will offer to talk to the employee and employer (or their representatives) about the dispute to give them the chance to come to an agreement without having to go to tribunal. This process is called ‘early conciliation’ and it is voluntary.  If an agreement isn’t reached and the case carries on to an Employment Tribunal, the parties can still talk through Acas conciliation up to and during the tribunal in an effort to resolve the dispute. Acas has commissioned this research to understand the experiences of employees, employers, or their representatives, when using conciliation to gather feedback on the service and how well it is meeting customers’ needs.

Who is carrying out the research?

This research is being carried out by NatCen Social Research on behalf of Acas. NatCen is an independent social research agency. For the last 50 years we’ve worked on behalf of government and charities to find out what people really think about important social issues and how Britain is run.

Acas has commissioned this research. Acas provides free and impartial information and advice to employers and employees on all aspects of workplace relations and employment law. Their aim is to promote good relationships between employers and employees and provide conciliation to resolve workplace problems.

Why take part?

How Acas Conciliation Research will make a difference

By taking part you will help Acas to understand how its conciliation service is working. You will help Acas to make improvements to how the service is delivered in the future, and potentially improve how workplace disputes are dealt with.

A little time to make a big difference

We’re asking that you spare a little time to share your thoughts and opinions. We know your time is precious, but our work really does make a difference.

A token of our appreciation

To say thank you for taking part NatCen will send you a £40 cheque.

What will taking part involve?

Our partners in this research, QRS Market Research, may get in touch to arrange a telephone interview at a time that suits you. The interview itself will be with a NatCen researcher and is really relaxed – there’s no need to prepare and you can skip any questions you don’t want to answer.

What’s involved?

Arranging the interview

We only need to speak to a certain number of people, so we may not call everyone we write to.  If we do call, we will ask you if you want to participate and ask a few questions to make sure you are eligible (we are trying to speak to a range of people who are likely to have different experiences).  We will also remind you that you don’t have to take part if you don’t want to.

The interview

We understand that you may be busy, so we’ll organise the interview at a time that suits you.  The interview itself will last between 30 and 40 minutes and will take place this March or April.  In that time the researcher will ask you about a range of topics including:

  • your experiences of interacting with conciliators
  • your views about how well the service met your needs
  • your suggestions for how the process could be improved
  • some basic information about the case.

The interview will focus on your views of the service provided by Acas and will not go into detail about your workplace dispute, or any settlement you may have in place. However, you do not have to take part if you feel it may breach any confidentiality agreement you may have reached as part of a settlement. If you do take part, you don’t have to answer any questions you don’t want to, we can just move on to the next one.

No need to prepare

There’s no need to prepare for the interview. You don’t need any special knowledge, we just want to hear about your experiences.

Why have I been selected to take part?

You have been selected randomly from a list provided by Acas of recent cases handled by the Leeds Conciliation Team. We are speaking with different groups of service users including employees, employers and representatives.

You may have received an email from us saying we’ve invited your representative to take part. You do not need to do anything if you’re happy for us to call your representative to ask if they’re interested in taking part. However if you would prefer they didn’t take part, please let us know using the contact details below.

It’s really important to us and Acas that our research represents the views of a range of people who took part in conciliation. Whatever your experience of the conciliation process, your views are important to Acas.

What will happen to any information I give?

The information you give will be used by Acas to review the conciliation service it provides and to make any improvements that are needed.

Only NatCen will know that you have taken part in this research, and we will not pass on your name to anyone else, including Acas.

We will treat the information you give us in the strictest confidence under the Data Protection Act 2018 and General Data Protection Regulation (which governs data protection and privacy). This means we will not tell anyone, including Acas, what you personally have said. You will never receive any junk mail as a result of speaking to us. We never pass on your details to other organisations for commercial purposes.

The results collected are used for research purposes only. We will present the main issues that people have talked about to Acas. We will not name any names and it will not be possible to identify any participants in our presentation slides. The findings will not be published more widely; they will be used by Acas for internal purposes only.

We will record and transcribe the interview so that nothing you say is forgotten. The recording and transcription will be kept securely so that no-one apart from the research team at NatCen can listen to or read it, and it will be destroyed when the research study is complete.

Contact us

If we don’t hear from you by 13 March, then we may contact you about taking part. If you would like to opt-in to the research then you can do so by contacting us using the details below. You can also opt-out of the research if you would like us not to contact you.

  • acasresearch@natcen.ac.uk
  • 020 7549 8537 (study phone number)

If you have any questions about the study, you can contact us using these details.

Privacy notice

The lawful basis for processing your data is ‘public task’. NatCen needs to process the data to perform ‘a task carried out in the public interest or in the exercise of official authority vested in the controller’ (i.e. Acas). 

You can read Acas’ privacy notice here: http://www.acas.org.uk/privacy.