London firms benefit from Acas free advice service

Advisers
from conciliation service Acas are offering small firms in London free advice
to sort out employment disputes.

The
employment-relations advice service will help firms with fewer than 50
employees, and hopes to help firms avoid being taken to a costly employment
tribunal.

The
free programme, originally piloted in East London, is now being offered across
Greater London, and will run until September this year.

Under
the scheme, Acas advisers will:


visit employers to give advice on the range of possible actions available to
deal with a particular employment problem, and the possible legal consequences


use mediation to help solve disputes in the workplace


provide an independent person to hear an employee’s appeal against a discipline
or grievance procedure decision.

Jerry
Gibson, London region director said: "Acas has a strong track record of
offering free mediation when an employee has made a complaint to the employment
tribunal. Last year, almost 100,000 complaints were made to an employment
tribunal, yet only 23 per cent ended up at a hearing.

"Every
year thousands of people put in applications to take their employer to an
employment tribunal, yet often with a little help and discussion at an earlier
stage, this could have been avoided. That’s the aim behind this programme of
free mediation for London businesses," said Gibson.

By Quentin Reade

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