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How does mediation work?

How does mediation work?

The mediation process is differs slightly between Civil & Commercial mediations, and Workplace mediations. We will briefly talk you through each process.

A Commercial or Civil Mediation – standard format

Nothing takes place at a mediation without your agreement. You are pivotal to the process, and to the outcome. Everything discussed during a mediation is entirely confidential.

The mediator calls everybody together to a venue on an agreed date. The venue will usually have 3 rooms booked – 1 room where everybody will meet, and a room each for the parties. Some discussions take place in 1 room with everybody present, some will take place in one of the private rooms with just the mediator.

The mediator will not suggest possible solutions or advise you on whether any proposed solution is in your interests or not. Throughout the day the mediator remains completely impartial. He uses his professional skills to help you to identify what’s important, what’s problematic, and what solutions can be explored and agreed.

During the course of the day, the mediation process will provide you with the best possible chance of negotiating a mutually agreeable solution. Once agreed, you will both draft and sign an legally binding mediation agreement which sets out the terms of the solution you negotiated together. The mediator is not involved in the drafting of this agreement.

The solution is in your hands.

A Workplace Mediation – The MediateLegal ‘3D Meeting’ Process

So what does a workplace mediation actually look like? How will it work? Most employers will be asking questions such as these right now, so let me explain how our innovative 3D Meeting format works using an example.

Ian (shift worker) and Carol (line manager) are two of your employees. They have had a difficult relationship culminating in a huge argument 3 months ago. Since then the atmosphere for colleagues in that department has been very difficult and morale is falling. Ian has had meetings with HR and is threatening a formal grievance.

The HR department has suggested workplace mediation, and both Ian and Carol agree to attend.  The Company contacts MediateLegal and briefly discusses the dispute. We will assess whether the dispute is suitable for mediation during the first telephone call.

Once we are satisfied that mediation can assist, we suggest a date for initial meetings with Ian and Carol. Before these initial meetings we will usually speak with the Company to discuss the dispute and any issues surrounding it. We will also send a questionnaire to each participant in advance of the first meeting.

Meeting 1: Discovery

We will meet with Ian and Carol separately, usually for 1 – 2 hours per employee. This is especially useful as it is often the first chance that Ian and Carol may have had to ‘get things off their chest’. For the mediator these meetings often involve a lot of listening and only few words. It also helps the employee to appreciate that each meeting is entirely confidential.

If Ian and Carol both want them present, then HR may sit in on these meetings too. If not, we may arrange a separate meeting with HR to discuss the matter further.

Towards the end of their meeting we start to invite Ian and Carol to look at the dispute from the other’s point of view, and to then consider any suggestions that might help to resolve the issues causing the dispute. The beauty of mediation is its flexibility, and so these suggestions are not tied to company policy or HR legislation.

We would arrange a second set of meetings for that afternoon, or the first opportunity thereafter. We tell Ian and Carol that they will have the option to speak to each other in an open meeting if they feel comfortable doing so. We ask them to think about what came out of these meetings, and to think of possible solutions to the dispute in the interim period before the next meetings

Meeting 2: Discussion

We will meet separately with Ian and Carol and encourage them to come to a meeting involving; one another, the mediator, and (if requested) a member of HR. During this meeting we will give each of them an opportunity to speak frankly to each other and to explain how they have viewed events so far. We ask them to consider the other’s point of view, and we then move the discussion on to what suggestions are available to resolve this conflict.

At every step both Ian and Carol are heavily involved in this process. Their involvement is key to the longevity of any agreed outcome.

Usually, these meetings would end with a plan of action agreed by Ian and Carol, signed by them both, and potentially passed to HR to make them aware. We end the meeting by advising Ian and Carol that we will arrange to come back a third time, in a few weeks usually, to have a half day of follow up meetings to review how things have progressed.

Meeting 3: Debrief

Sometimes these meetings are very brief – Ian and Carol are happy with their new working relationship and agree to continue on that basis. Sometimes however we are called upon to reshape agreements to overcome any hiccups of developments which have only come to light recently. This is exactly why we incorporate a longer period between meetings 2 and 3, than between meetings 1 and 2.

Our final act on day 3 is a meeting with HR or a company contact to discuss the case and how the employer feels it has worked for the business.

We would always recommend the 3D Meeting format as it has proven benefits.

Mediation Fees

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Did you know?

Workplace disputes will affect profitability and performance. Use mediation to resolve disputes swiftly.

The longer a dispute continues in the workplace, the more dramatic the effect on those working in or around it.

Conflict between employees can spread throughout the workforce, affecting morale and performance, if untreated.

A 2008 CIPD survey found that 51% of respondents use an external mediator to resolve people problems and conflict.

A 2008 CIPD survey found that 75% of mediations were initiated by HR departments.

If you express your anger you will start an argument; if you explain your anger you will start a discussion.

In 2016 mediation will have saved UK businesses £3 billion in wasted management time & productivity, damaged relationships, & legal fees.

Ignoring ‘mega-cases’ the total value of mediated disputes in the UK each year is £11.5 billion.

Since 1990, the total value of mediated cases in England & Wales is £110 billion.

CEO of regional Charity – “We have had cause to use Mediatelegal recently and I was delighted with their service. the mediator was patient during a very emotional and somewhat difficult situation but handled it beautifully. We saved a significant amount of money and would highly recommend this organisation to anyone wishing to avoid costly legal bills.”

Linda Lavery, The HR Dept: “I cannot recommend them highly enough. They were brought in to resolve a complex dispute which had continued for months with no resolution. The process was managed from start to finish by Mediatelegal and with their expertise and impartiality, the conflict was resolved amicably for all parties in just 1 day. The management time and money that has been saved is incalculable.”

According to the CEDR 2018 audit, 89% of mediations settle successfully on the day or shortly afterwards.

You are entitled to recover certain expenses incurred when attending a SEND mediation session.

An individual might potentially require an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP until they reach the age of 25.

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