Public sector employers’ attitudes to use of Acas collective conciliation

Broughton A, Cox A | Research Paper 41980 | Acas | Feb 2012

cover image

In December 2010, Acas commissioned IES to undertake a small piece of research into the attitudes of public sector employers regarding Acas collective conciliation – Acas’ long-standing service for resolving collective employment disputes through negotiations between employee representatives (usually trade unions) and employers, facilitated by Acas conciliators.

The research was based on in-depth qualitative interviews with Heads of Employment Relations or Human Resources across a range of public sector bodies.

The purpose of the study was to understand public sector managers’ experiences of, attitudes towards and approaches to collective dispute resolution, in the context of previous studies which have found that negotiators in the public sector are less likely to have used Acas collective conciliation than those in the private sector and those negotiating in both sectors.

The report:

  • examines the industrial relations context in the five areas of the public sector in which we carried out employer interviews: universities; further education colleges; health; central government; and local government
  • looks at the use of Acas collective conciliation by the Head of Employment Relations and Human Resources interviewed for this research and their reasons for non-use of the service
  • compares and contrasts public and private sector approaches to dispute resolution
  • offers some conclusions and policy recommendations.