Mediation – Guidance Note

Mediation is a voluntary step aimed at informally resolving issues.  This guidance note provides a brief overview of what mediation is and when it can be used.   

What is Mediation?
Mediation is where an impartial trained mediator helps two or more people in dispute attempt to reach a satisfactory agreement.  The mediation process helps the parties involved to understand each others perspectives and identify a way forward.

The mediation process is informal, voluntary and will only be used where all parties involved agree to participate.  The discussions that take place as part of the mediation process are confidential.  As the process is informal participants are not normally accompanied / represented during the mediation process.

The role of the mediator
The role of the mediator is to facilitate discussions with the parties involved to seek a satisfactory resolution.  The mediator is not there to judge, to say one person is right or wrong, or tell those involved in mediation what they should do.  The mediator is in charge of the process to assist the parties to resolve the issue but not the outcome.

When is it used?
Mediation can be used to address a range of issues including relationship breakdowns, personality clashes, communication problems and perceived bullying and harassment.

It can be used at any point in the grievance process however, we encourage this to be considered as an option prior to a formal grievance being raised as an alternative way of resolving the issue.  As once formal processes have been triggered the tendency is for the situation to become more adversarial and positions can become more entrenched.  This is not to say that mediation cannot be successful following a formal grievance process where it may be used to help rebuild relationships.

When is it not appropriate?
Mediation may not be appropriate if both parties do not want to participate or where a decision about right or wrong is needed.

Where can I find out more?
If you would like further information about mediation you should contact your local Human Resources team.