Acas funding doubts laid to rest by conciliation organisation

Acas has quashed rumours that it will not receive anywhere near the ‘up to £37m’ promised by the government to clamp down on unnecessary employment tribunals.

The arbitration service announced the three-year funding package earlier this year, designed to help conciliators intervene earlier in workplace disputes and boost the effectiveness of its helpline, but a senior Acas insider speaking to Personnel Today questioned whether the sums added up.

The doubts came as the Employment Bill, designed to simplify workplace dispute resolution and save business more than £175m a year, reached its third reading in Parliament last week.

The Acas source said: “It was always ‘up to £37m’, and the way things are going it looks like it will not be £37m. The helpline is fully funded, but pre-claim conciliation funding is based on a pilot that will enable the government to say ‘this is how much we think the service will cost to deliver’.”

An Acas spokeswoman said although some pilots were due to finish at the end of November, it was too early to predict set-up and operating costs. She said: “We are confident that the money set aside is sufficient to fund the new services to the full required capacity.”

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