We have suitably trained, skilled and experienced mediators, available to handle any community-based disputes.
The cultural and economic diversity of our communities and the tempo and pressures of modern life within them can all too easily give rise to disputes within them. These may take the form of:
- Neighbourhood disputes, including anti-social behaviour, noise, nuisance from pets, hoarding or dumping of rubbish, and other infringements.
- Victim and perpetrator disputes that include other affected parties, in which the mediation seeks to provide reconciliation, restitution, compensation and punishment, along with measures to rehabilitate the offender back into mainstream society.
- Discrimination disputes between groups or individuals but also, e.g. complaints about the allocation of school places for children by Education Authorities, teacher-pupil disputes, especially where parents become involved, health care differences by post-codes, and perceived differences in the provision of housing and social services to different groups on the basis of age, sexual orientation, physical and/or mental impairment, race, beliefs, language, location, life-style, etc.
- Generational disputes, including parent-young people disputes, intergenerational disputes involving elderly people, and the provision of Peer Mediation in Schools, involving the training and supervision of students to enable them to settle disputes, prevent bullying and other abuses at school which, by extension, has been found to reduce the likelihood of gangs being formed outside school.
GLEAMED has suitably trained, skilled and experienced Community Mediation available to handle mediation for these and any other community-based disputes.
Mediation takes a collaborative approach to dispute resolution as opposed to the legal process, which takes an adversarial approach. In other words, whilst mediation seeks a win-win solution for the participants, the legal process results in someone winning and someone else losing, which can lead to residual resentment and ill-feeling in the community thereafter. So, mediation offers a much better prospect of maintaining harmonious relationships as it results in greater mutual understanding and behaviour based on tolerance and respect in future.
A greater awareness of the ready availability and collaborative nature of mediation can also affect attitudes in general and thereby contribute to sustaining community spirit by acting as a restraint to anti-social behaviour and the development of a gang culture or other forms of separatism and cultural isolation.
Initial considerations for making use of Community Mediation include:
- It is a voluntary process and all concerned in the dispute must agree to participate.
- The mediator(s) are neutral third parties who remain non-judgemental and do not offer legal advice.
- The process is private and confidential, so what is said in mediation is not repeated or alluded to outside it and what is said privately to the mediator remains confidential until or unless the person concerned agrees it may be shared with others. Also, all offers are without prejudice and so cannot be mentioned or alluded to in any further proceedings outside the mediation unless they form part of an enforceable settlement agreement.
- The process used for the mediation will need to take account of any cultural considerations, whether an interpreter is required and any safety/security considerations potentially affecting the participants and mediator(s).
What follows is an overview of the generic Community Mediation process, which is adapted to the requirement on a case-by-case basis with the participants so as to suit the nature of the dispute they wish to resolve.
On receipt of a request for mediation, ideally sent to us via our Referral Form, GLEAMED will contact all concerned to see whether they are prepared to participate and if so, will identify a mediator or mediators who are neutral, i.e. not known to or associates of any participants, and send the Agreement to Mediate to all concerned for their signature. We will also identify a suitable venue for the mediation with the participants, having regard for accessibility for all concerned and any safety/security considerations.
Once the Agreement is signed, the assigned mediator(s) will gather information on the context of the dispute from everyone concerned, either by face to face interviews, telephone discussions or email exchanges.
During these initial contacts, it is important for the participants to differentiate between what is confidential and to be safeguarded by the mediator and what can be shared by the mediator with the other side. The mediator will not communicate any confidential information to any other party unless specifically authorised to do so.
Mediation aims to find outcomes that are agreeable to all parties involved. It is a solution focussed tool, which relies on the individuals being open to communicating in a positive way. The process includes an element of negotiation and participants must be prepared to put across their ideal solution to the dispute, as well as being open to listening to the other party/s issues. The outcome should be a win/win solution.
Community Mediation often uses two mediators and is normally completed within one day. This may be in one protracted session or in a series of shorter sessions, depending on the nature and complexity of the dispute and the issues involved.
After the initial ‘information gathering’ work, the mediation will usually move into a face-to-face sessions. The mediator meets individually with each party to listen to their perception of the issues and to prepare them for a joint meeting. At this stage the mediator arranges for anyone who has not yet already done so to sign the Agreement to Mediate.
With everyone’s agreement there will then be a joint (face to face) meeting. The mediator invites all present to introduce themselves and reminds them of the arrangements that have been agreed for the mediation.
Each party is then invited by the mediator to explain their issues uninterrupted, taking up to about ten minutes. The mediator will then facilitate exchanges between the participants so long as they remain productive.
After that the mediator usually sees each side separately again. There is no hard and fast rule about how mediation is conducted. The mediator aims to establish a good relationship with each side by listening to what they say and seeking to understand the dispute from their point of view. The mediator can then assist the parties to negotiate, either by further separate meetings or by bringing the parties together if appropriate.
Mediation is not always easy – it can be challenging and uncomfortable. It is also common for participants to feel part way through the mediation that they are wasting their time, that the other side are not prepared to give anything at all and that they might as well leave. Mediators are familiar with this development and will encourage all concerned to persevere with the process as it is usually possible to work through the obstacles with the mediator’s assistance and arrive at an agreement.
Most cases reach an agreement by the end of the day. In some cases, part of this agreement, may be for one or more of the parties to make enquiries relevant to their case that will ensure the agreement can be upheld. Further telephone contact between the mediator and the parties involved is usually sufficient to then finalise the agreement.
If agreement can be reached, it will normally be put into writing and signed there and then. The components of a settlement may include: Non-financial elements, including: an apology; the acceptance of an offer of assistance; a public clarification; agreement on the need for changes to behaviour; etc.
Financial compensation and/or restitution of property or goods, etc. Behavioural Charters, in which the Participants draw up an Agreement setting out their solution and/or the measures each will take to resolve the dispute and prevent its reoccurrence, including arrangements for ongoing review and for handling breaches early and constructively as they arise. Charters normally include a provision for handling persistent breaches, for example by referring them back to the Housing Association or Local Authority concerned for handling as they see fit, or to the Mediation Provider for further mediation if appropriate.
The mediator/s will also contact each party within an agreed timescale to follow up on the agreement. If necessary the case can be referred back to mediation once to establish whether breaches of the agreement can be resolved without the need to involve authorities.
The GLEAMED ‘pay-as-you-go’ Community Mediation scheme is subject to negotiation and is usually but not exclusively based on a set fee, which is charged on a case-by-case basis. The scheme is designed for independent Housing Associations or other Public Sector users and is tailored in negotiation with them to provide a very cost efficient and integrated solution, with minimum additional infrastructure and overheads, to handle a specified range of community disputes.
We always provide a full quotation, so that you know exactly what the costs will be before you enter the mediation process. Our charges reflect current market rates.
There is no charge for accommodation if the mediation takes place at one of our venues in London and Colchester. Otherwise, if accommodation is needed elsewhere for the mediation, we can arrange it and the charge will be shown separately in the estimate, together with any other expenses, such as for catering and the mediator's travel and subsistence. If the mediation can be conducted on the site of a dispute, or the participants want to arrange accommodation themselves, then the mediator will go to their agreed location.
Individuals and other organisations
GLEAMED also provides quotations for community mediation matters referred to us by individuals or organisations in which the cost is based on the amount of preparatory work involved, the complexity of the dispute, support costs (travel, venue, etc.) and likely duration of the mediation and any follow-on work, to provide an all-inclusive figure for consideration by the Referrer.
Frequently asked questions….
To find some answers to frequently asked questions, please click here.
Please follow this link to fill out our short referral form.
You are under no obligation to use GLEAMED but it would help us to understand your requirements.