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Request help from a mediator

Devon County Council’s Corporate Mediation Service has a team of trained mediators available to assist individuals in working towards finding resolution to a conflict or dispute. The mediator is an impartial third party, helping individuals reach an agreement, focusing on a future way forward rather than past behaviour.

To contact the Mediation Service, please email or telephone 01392 385555.

More about mediation

Mediation is a solution-focussed approach, whereby the mediators facilitate individuals reaching their own solutions.

In 2007 the government instigated a review of dispute resolution systems which advocated making more use of alternative dispute resolution methods, such as mediation to settle disputes early. This approach is also encouraged by organisations such as ACAS, and employment tribunals are increasingly questioning employers as to whether mediation has been considered,offered, or attempted.

After a 12 month successful pilot from October 2008, it was agreed that the service should continue in its current form with both managers being encouraged to use the service to resolve disputes in the workplace and support the release of staff to attend mediation sessions. The team of facilitators from across the County Council have been trained and nationally accredited as mediators.

There are numerous benefits in terms of adopting the use of mediation. Firstly, the use of mediation at an early stage can help improve working relationships for issues that, although they do not reach any formal stages, can be detrimental to productivity and harmony. There are other benefits, including:

  • Speed of resolution – mediation can work more quickly and therefore more cost effectively than other dispute procedures. This can result in reduced absence levels and increased productivity.
  • Confidentiality – the process is carried out within agreed boundaries of confidentiality which avoids publicity and protects reputations.
  • Flexibility – mediation takes a problem-solving approach and is conducted without precedents, making it flexible and potentially more creative than other mechanisms.
  • Likelihood of success – participation is voluntary, and so there is a better chance that an agreement will be successful and respected by both parties.
  • Developing a good people management culture – it enables both parties to contribute to finding a win-win solution which supports trust based relationships and a culture of good people management.
  • Long term outcomes – mediation enables a relationship between parties to continue leading to a happier and more stable workforce.
    In addition to the above, there are benefits in relation to time and cost savings. Savings should be achieved through a reduction in the amount of management time spent on grievances, appeals and employment tribunals, leading to a corresponding reduction in compensation payments.

Examples of cases where mediation has previously worked effectively include instances where there were personality clashes, objections to management styles, accusations of bullying and harassment or both and breakdowns in communication.