Mediation can be challenging for everyone involved. The process usually follows a set pattern, and people find that knowing what to expect can help them to feel more relaxed.
Our mediators always work in pairs to facilitate this process.
Step 1 - Arranging Mediation
Once you have contacted us and decided, together with the mediation co-ordinator, that your particular issues may be mediable and that you wish to go ahead with mediation, the co-ordinator will identify two available mediators and liaise to find suitable dates for the initial meeting. The co-ordinator will determine when it is appropriate to contact the other party (or parties).
Step 2 - Individual Meetings (approx. 1 hour)
Each party will meet with the mediators individually to find out more about the process, explain their situation and discuss what they wish to get out of mediation. Please note that to maintain independence and impartiality the mediators will have no prior knowledge of the case.
You will be asked to sign a liability and confidentiality agreement. Failure to sign the agreement will prevent the mediation from proceeding.
Step 3 – Next Steps
The mediators may identify additional parties they would like to meet if they feel that they form part of the solution.
The mediators will then decide whether the case is suitable to take forward to a joint meeting.
Joint meetings take place subject to:
- the outcome of the individual meetings
- consent of parties
- whether the mediators feel it is appropriate
Step 4 - Joint Meeting (set aside 4 hours)
This session will be an open and frank discussion of issues, led by the mediators to ensure fairness and appropriate behaviour. The mediators will start by explaining how the session will work, setting the agenda for the mediation and giving everyone uninterrupted time to put forward their issues. The mediators treat everyone in exactly the same way. They will help you to think about what you want, what other people might want, how things could be improved and to work towards an agreement for future working.
Four hours may seem a long time to set aside but it allows for the mediators and parties to fully explore the conflict and work out a resolution. The joint meeting may finish sooner but it is helpful to have the time set aside. The mediators will accommodate comfort breaks and pause the session if anyone feels uncomfortable.
During a joint session either party can ask to see the mediators privately. If this happens, the mediators will accompany them to a side room and ask the other party to remain seated. Nothing said in a private discussion with one person will be repeated to the other party without their permission. A side meeting is useful if any issues come up unexpectedly as they can give time for thought and reflection before continuing the session.
Step 5 - Concluding the Mediation Process
During the meetings, the mediators may take non-identifying notes to help them remember the facts. You can see these notes at any time and they will be destroyed after the session.
The mediators will help the parties to draw up a simple statement outlining the key action areas. All parties including the mediators will sign and date the agreement, and you can keep a copy for your records.
At the end of the meetings, the mediators will remind the parties that anything said or agreed during mediation cannot be discussed outside the meetings, unless both parties wish to discuss this with a manager or their referrer (if not a self-referral).
Step 6 - After Mediation
The mediation co-ordinator will send a feedback form to parties, six weeks after mediation, to feed back on the mediator’s performance and the service we have provided. This information is confidential and will only be used to improve the mediation service.