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The complainant may be unable or reluctant to approach the other party on their own. If so, the complainant may obtain advice or ask for support from a colleague, their Manager, local HR staff, Institutional Administrator, Head of Institution or Human Resources Business Manager/Adviser attached to the School, to ask for help in achieving an informal resolution of the problem.

 The Manager (or other individual from whom help has been requested) may meet separately with the complainant and the person about whom the complaint has been made to discuss the situation.  S/he will establish the circumstances, the impact that the complainant considers the situation has had on him/her, any steps s/he has already taken to address it, and the response of the person about whom the complaint has been made.    The complainant is encouraged to keep a record of any examples of the unacceptable behaviour that can support their complaint during the course of these discussions.

 The Manager will then seek to agree a course of action with the complainant.  Wherever possible, resolution will be sought through informal means.  This will usually involve a meeting between the complainant and the person about whom the complaint has been made, which may be facilitated by the complainant’s Manager and, if appropriate, the HR Business Manager/Adviser.  The spirit of such a meeting should not be one of accusation, but of attempting to demonstrate why distress may have occurred and exploring how such incidents might be avoided in the future.  If a successful resolution is achieved, the HR Business Manager/Adviser assigned to the institution may keep a confidential record and inform the Head of Institution if s/he considers this appropriate.  The complainant and person complained about will be advised of such an eventuality.

Where mediation is considered to be appropriate and where both parties agree to participate, the Manager, HR Business Manager/Adviser or the parties themselves may refer the case to the University’s Mediation Service.  The mediation process itself is entirely confidential to the participants. 

 The informal procedure is set out in the Informal procedure flow chart.