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Marina Glasgow Acas East of England works with every kind of employer from the smallest to the largest, we also work with Trade Unions and employees. We operate throughout Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Essex, Hertfordshire, Norfolk, and Suffolk to improve organisational performance by promoting effective working relationships.

We provide practical expert advice, guidance and training on all aspects of HR and employment relations from recruiting your first employee to large scale redundancies and every other aspect of employment in between. We work with small business owners, managers in growing businesses, CEO's of large multi-nationals and all levels in the Public Sector.

Acas believes that simple steps can make a big difference and our experienced team of advisers are on hand to talk about how effective engagement with everyone in a business can have a positive impact on the people, productivity and the bottom line. Our initial advice is always free and further help and support is tailored to meet the needs of each individual business or organisation.

We also work with many partner organisations including Job Centre Plus, Chambers of Commerce and Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) and welcome opportunities to form new business relationships which will help business growth in our region.

Marina Glasgow, East of England Area Director

Marina Glasgow at Solicitors conference (Sept 2019)

2018 - 19 has been a busy year. Acas has seen an unprecedented level of demand for our services across the piece. From helpline, through to conciliation, mediation and training; all of our services have been stretched. We have also introduced a whole new IT system for our conciliation service and received a greater than anticipated influx of cases from the ET, which has created a perfect storm of demand -v- resource that we are still striving to get right.

Perfect storms seem to be happening all over at the moment. Two big questions (pdf icon Can work be both productive and good? [308kb]) currently dominate policy thinking on the world of work: The first asks how we can make our organisations more productive, and the second asks how we can improve the quality of working lives. Of course, a huge complicating factor, is the UK's future relationship with the European Union!

So how can we make work both better and more productive? Most commentators see the answer lying in getting the right balance between business flexibility and individual job security. A recent government consultation addressed the question of 'one-sided flexibility', with the growing concern that too many risks are experienced by workers and not employers.

Recalibrating the labour market and the world of work can be done in a number of ways, notably through:

  • Legal compliance: we will be hearing today about forthcoming changes to things like holiday pay, written statements and agency workers' rights
  • Persuasion: this is done through promoting awareness of issues, sharing best practice and, sometimes, making the business case for doing the right thing

Many key workplaces issues require a combination of both these elements.  For example, there are many challenges for organisations in creating the right workplace culture, particularly in the light of sexual harassment, bullying and gender inequality. Two years on from the start of the #MeToo campaign Acas' has been asked by both employers and employees to both to explain the law and promote good practice around behaviours at work:

  • New Acas guidance has been published on Sexual harassment and guidance will be coming soon on use of Non Disclosure Agreements (or NDA's).
  • We are also looking closely at changes to the ICE Regulations as a way of promoting employee voice and involvement

The backdrop to many of these changes is the good work agenda spearheaded by Matthew Taylor. Acas is pleased to be on the Carnegie Trust's Job Quality Working Group - as you know the government has promised to measure job quality and we are helping identify the right metrics and how these can be measured.

As you might expect some of the metrics are very much rooted in employment law - such as 'terms of employment' which focusses on job security and minimum guaranteed hours; and 'voice and representation', which is about creating the right mechanisms for employee involvement. Other metrics are more about promoting the right behaviour, such as 'social support and cohesion' and 'psychosocial wellbeing', with its growing emphasis on mental health. The issue of social cohesion is interesting as it is predicated on an ongoing manager/employee relationship. In many new models of employment, notably the gig economy, this kind of relationship is virtually non-existent. Cases around this raise the question about how prepared are we for the advent of virtual employment relations?

New models of work are enabled by new technology. Acas recently published thinking on the likely 'winners and losers (pdf icon New technology and the world of work: the winners and the losers [432kb])' in this fourth industrial revolution. Despite the scare stories about jobs being lost to robots en masse, the wise money seems to be on tasks being automated rather than whole jobs.

In this ideal world we all lose the boring bits of our jobs and do more of the interesting stuff. No more filling out tedious budgeting spreadsheets, but I'm not sure in reality it will work like that. What does seem certain is that there will be a growing premium on interpersonal, creative, strategic leadership and high technical skills.

On a more down-to-earth note, many of us have to be concerned with the here and now. At Acas we have thousands of interactions with employers every week. In the east of England over the last 12 months we are noticing a growing interest in:

  • Disciplinary investigations
  • Menopause: we are launching a new training course
  • Leadership: our new framework is proving very effective with our in-company work
  • Behaviours at work, and in particular those more extreme challenging type behaviours that many managers struggle to manage
  • Managing mental health at work
  • Mediation at work

None of these topics are new to Acas, we are after all in the business of helping people of all levels work together to be effective and productive. But it would be interesting to conduct some research to find out why these topics in particular are shaping the largest areas of demand for our advisory services, and if you will forgive my speculation, I wonder if it is something to do with a subject that has been very high on the political agenda over recent months, but that has gone out of fashion in discussion in the workplace over recent years: conflict!

In a few weeks' time Acas will be publishing some new research on 'Managing conflict at work, the role of HR'. It suggests that conflict is not seen as a strategic issue by HR, but rather as an administrative burden. Conflict has many roles to play at work - as many of the case law examples will illustrate today, conflict helps protect employee rights and re-enforce employer responsibilities. But it can also help to challenge prevailing culture and promote values like fairness and equality.

So we have the big picture - in terms of the kind of values we want to promote and whether these are compatible with business success; we have the more everyday concerns - with some perennial favourites like discipline and holidays and others emerging issues, such as menopause and neurodiversity; and we have a lot that's in-between, partly about now and partly about the future.

The world of work is becoming ever more complex. The world in which we operate both nationally and globally is changing and uncertain, which is why I am looking forward to the clarity and enlightenment our expert speakers will provide today.

Thank you.

Acas training events

Acas offers a range of training courses designed to improve the skills of managers in your workplace. Event topics include discipline and grievance, absence management, skills for supervisors and much more. View the full range of events hosted by Acas East of England.

Upcoming events highlights

Workplace investigations - workshop and webinar

An in-depth look at the importance of workplace investigations and how to get them right, providing you with the key skills and knowledge to conduct fair and effective investigations within your workplace.

This interactive course combines face to face training with a follow up webinar, providing delegates with a unique opportunity to embed their new skills and maximise the impact of their learning.

View event date and location

Managing Extreme, Persistent and Difficult Workplace Behaviours

This unique workshop develops understanding and strategies to help managers and HR staff at all levels manage this small but very toxic group of any workforce.

Important note - this workshop looks at extreme difficult and manipulative behaviours that go beyond the plan awkward.

View event dates and locations

Employment law updates

Our Employment Law Update brings you up to date on recent changes in legislation and highlights what's planned to come into force in the future; a key consideration for business planning. Our experienced trainers explain the changes in a practical and straightforward way which will help you understand the legal changes and, importantly, the impact for your organisation.

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HR for beginners

This practical event provides an introduction to the fundamentals of employing people. The course maps the employment relationship from recruitment, to issuing contracts, managing holidays, dealing with absence, discipline and grievance matters through to ending the employment relationship.

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Essential Skills for Supervisors

Acas offers a suite of events covering the range of people skills that supervisors and line a mangers will need to effectively manage a team.  All training includes interactive group discussions, helpful scenarios and case studies. 

View event dates and locations

For advice on which course is most appropriate for your needs call our Customer Services Team on 0300 123 11 50.

TUPE - A practical guide to business transfers

This full day course provides a practical, in-depth look at the TUPE process from start to finish and draws upon current legislation and best practice when preparing for business transfers.

View event dates and locations

What people say about our training courses

"Realistic, comprehensive training as usual from Acas. Lots of opportunities to discuss the application of legislation and process in our businesses and compare experiences. The Acas tutor facilitated the conversation and led group activity very well indeed. Great value, great venue, excellent quality and very enjoyable."
HR and Communications Director, small family-run property restoration business

"Informative, interesting, valuable"
Leisure Services Manager

"Excellent how delegates are encouraged to discuss in depth"
HR Manager

"Very relevant and clear guidance given."
Company Secretary

The Acas Framework for Effective Leadership

The Acas 'framework for effective leadership' is intended to help managers identify the qualities in themselves, and those around them, to build workplace relationships that are productive, trusting and mutually rewarding.

The leadership model is based upon four levels of understanding and is informed by the thousands of customer interactions Acas advisers have every year. The four levels are.

  1. Know your stuff - This refers to all the nuts and bolts of working life, everything from employment law to disciplinary policies and procedures.
  2. Refine your skills - Here the focus is on communicating, listening, telling, motivating and liaising - in essence, the ability to engage well with people
  3. Be aware of organisational responsibilities - The hardest part of leadership is often balancing individual and group concerns, and encouraging the right behavioural norms.
  4. Strive for those essential characteristics - The best leaders have a personal style that is reflexive, emotionally intelligent and openly accommodates both strength and vulnerability.

Our team of employment relations experts provide business solutions and can address a wide range of your business needs. We offer tailored advice, diagnosis, in-company support and bespoke training programs which can be adapted to your needs.

Solving issues in the workplace

Are you in the middle of a dispute where both sides are reluctant to give any ground? Acas Collective disputes may be able to help you.

Collective conciliation isn't just for large companies like British Airways or the BBC, it can be adapted to help any employers and employee representative bodies settle their differences. If collective conciliation would help your business please call the Customer Service Team on 0300 123 1150 and we will refer you to a senior conciliator in the area.

Find out details of the support Acas offers to organisations large and small on our Case studies page.

Business Solutions

We work with some of the region's biggest private and public sector employers as well as small to medium sized employers - we bring a wealth of experience and fresh ideas that can help you to improve business performance.

Our expert advisers can help you to review your policies, set up works councils and employee forums, handle redundancies, tackle absence, improve staff engagement and much more. Further information is available on our Training Courses, Workshops and Projects page.

Let us know how we can help through our online enquiry form.

Keep in touch

Our monthly newsletter will provide you with regular updates on changes to employment law, local events, and top tips based on new guidance we release. You can view recent issues of our newsletters toward the bottom of this page. Sign up for the Acas East of England newsletter.

Engage with Acas via social media

Acas is active on social media, you can follow us on our Twitter channel or join in the discussion on our LinkedIn group.

Where to find the Acas East of England regional office 

Forest Heath District Council Offices, College Heath Road, Mildenhall, Suffolk IP28 7EY

 

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Certificate in Internal Workplace Mediation