The Advisory, Conciliation And Arbitration Scheme (Acas), An Analysis

2429 words - 10 pages

The Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS)HistoryBefore analysing the ACAS Arbitration Scheme, a brief history of the organisation will be offered, whereby providing a more thorough understanding of the subject as a whole.The ACAS Arbitration scheme was established on the 2nd of September, 1974. Initially the organisation was known as the "Conciliation and Arbitration Service". It was renamed the "Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service" in January 1975 to reflect more accurately the range of services on offer . On the 1st of January 1976, ACAS became a statutory body under the Employment Protection Act 1975.The composition of ACAS today is largely governed by Part VI of the Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992. The organisation of the Scheme is made up of a chairman and between nine and fifteen members, with three of four members representing unions, three or four representing employers and the remainder being 'independents'. ACAS was set up as a body 'independent of the government, in particular independent of the Department of Trade and Industry' . This independence from governmental control is a unique feature, however ACAS does makes an annual report on its activities which, is laid before Parliament .RationaleThe general aims of ACAS can be found in the Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act , which states "it is the general duty of ACAS to promote the improvement of industrial relations'. This is further expanded as follows:'?and in particular to encourage the extension of collective bargaining and the development and, where necessary, reform of collective bargaining machinery' .The Conservative Government repealed the wording intended to extend the aims of ACAS with the introduction of the Trade Union Reform and Employment Rights Act 1993. The words 'in particular by exercising its functions in relation to the settlement of trade disputes', were substituted. However, the Labour Government were of the opinion that such wording was too restrictive and so removed it by way of the Employment Relations Act 1999, commenting that this left ACAS with the 'widest possible general duty' .General FunctionsThe general functions of ACAS can be separated into three main areas: advice, conciliation and arbitration.AdviceACAS, may upon request, provide advice to employers, employers' associations, employees and trade unions. Such advice is left to the discretion of ACAS, who will act as appropriate in matters concerning or likely affect industrial relations .ConciliationWhere a trade dispute subsists, ACAS can offer its assistance to the parties involved 'either on its own volition or at the request of any party, with a view to bringing about a settlement' . Furthermore, the parties will be encouraged to utilise any appropriate agreed procedures with a view to bringing about an amiable resolution .Anything advised to the conciliation officer is not admissible as evidence before a tribunal unless...

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