AskDefine | Define acas

Extensive Definition

For other meanings, see ACAS.
The Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS) is an independent non-departmental public body of the Government of the United Kingdom. Its purpose is to promote and facilitate strong industrial relations practice. ACAS is commonly misunderstood to be a trade union, but in fact is an impartial organisation that does not side with a particular party in a dispute, but rather will help parties to reach suitable resolutions in a dispute. It may do this through a number of mediums, but especially will use conciliation or arbitration.


The service's roots lie in 1896 when the government set up a voluntary conciliation and arbitration service. There was a name change in 1960, to Industrial Relations Services, and again in 1972 to Conciliation and Advisory Service. Up to this point in its history the service remained firmly under the Government's wing.
The current ACAS, originally called the Conciliation and Arbitration Service, was set up with an independent council to direct it in 1974. "Advisory" was added to the name in 1975 to reflect the full range of services on offer. Finally, in 1976, the new organisation was put on a statutory footing and receives its funding through the Department of Trade and Industry. Its current chair as of October 2007 is Ed Sweeney.

External Links

  •, the service's official website.
  • Videos Video area, a portal on the service's official website containing video clips introducing some of ACAS' services to help in the workplace.
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