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Mediation is an informal process for resolving problems between staff in the workplace quickly and effectively. It can be used where working relationships between employees are difficult or have broken down. The process is entirely voluntary and needs the agreement of both parties. It is possible for either party to withdraw from the process at any time after agreeing to participate.

Mediation can be used at any time during the Dignity at Work process as a means of informal resolution. A matter may be referred to the Mediation Service by the parties themselves, or referred by the Manager or the relevant HR Business Manager/Adviser, if both parties agree. 

The Mediation Service

The mediators are an experienced team of trained volunteers from a variety of roles across the University. They act as an impartial third party to bring two people in dispute together to find a mutually acceptable resolution.

The benefits of mediation are that relationships can be preserved and resolution achieved more quickly than through more formal procedures. Individuals are able to have greater flexibility to suggest and agree solutions themselves, which leads to better understanding and satisfaction with the outcomes.

Once the Mediation Co-ordinators receive the request for mediation, they will allocate two mediators to the case and check that there are no conflicts of interest between either of the mediators and the two parties and confirm a date suitable to both parties and mediators. The mediators will then contact both parties to confirm the mediation date and advise of all the necessary arrangements.

A mediation starts with both mediators meeting with each party individually for about one hour.  This provides an opportunity for each to describe what has been happening and how it has affected them.  Once both the individual meetings have taken place, the two parties and the two mediators have a joint meeting during which the difficulties can be discussed in a safe and structured environment.  The mediators ensure that both parties have the opportunity to talk and be heard:  they will be encouraged to explore past issues and concerns and then to focus on the outcome they would like to achieve.  A mediation usually takes the best part of a day and is confidential between the four individuals (two parties and two mediators).

For further information on the internal mediation process, please see https://www.admin.cam.ac.uk/offices/hr/policy/mediation/ or contact the Mediation Co-ordinators on mediation@admin.cam.ac.uk.