Telephone: 0113 34 33783

Mediation Service
5-9 Willow Terrace Road
University of Leeds
Woodhouse Lane

Seeing both sides of the problem

Step by step guide

What to expect from a mediation session

Mediation is a flexible process, designed to be as straightforward and comfortable as possible, but it often follows a set pattern. Many people find knowing these individual steps helps them to feel more relaxed about mediation.

Mediation is an informal way to resolve issues of interpersonal conflict and two mediators will facilitate this process. Mediation is confidential and impartial, what you tell the mediators will remain private and won't be revealed. The aim is to support people to reach an agreement that is acceptable to everyone involved.

Step 1 – Arranging a Mediation

Once you have contacted us and decided, together with the Mediation Co-ordinator, that your particular issues are mediable and that you wish to go ahead with mediation, the Co-ordinator will contact the other party/parties involved by e-mail to ask if they are also happy to take part in mediation.

If this is the case the Co-ordinator will then identify two mediators and liaise with all parties to find a suitable date for mediation to take place. The Co-ordinator is happy to discuss any queries at this point. Of course they might not want to take part in the process and in this case you should discuss alternatives with your line manager, HR manager or union.

Step 2 – Individual Meetings and the Joint Meeting

We work to a ‘one-day’ model of mediation. This means that each party will meet with the mediators individually to discuss their concerns and clarify the mediation process for approximately an hour, followed by a joint meeting for all parties and the mediators later on in the same day.

The mediators will arrange to meet you and the other party before the session and will ensure you all enter the room at the same time. The mediators will run the session and accommodate comfort breaks, stopping the session if anyone feels uncomfortable. This meeting will be an open and frank discussion of the issues, led by the mediator to ensure fairness and appropriate behaviour.

The mediator will start by explaining how the session will work, setting the agenda for the mediation and giving everyone uninterrupted time to put forward the key issues. The mediators treat everyone in exactly the same way and will not divulge details of these discussions unless they have permission to. They will help you to think about what you want, what other people might want, and how things could be improved and to work towards an agreement for future working. You will be asked to sign a confidentiality agreement.

Private meetings

During a joint meeting either party can ask to see the mediators privately. If this happens then the mediators will accompany them to a side room allocated for this and ask the other party to remain seated. Nothing said in a private discussion with one person will be repeated to the other party without their permission. Sometimes a break out room is useful if some issues come up unexpectedly to give time for thought and reflection before continuing the meeting.

Step 3 - Concluding the mediation process

During the meetings, the mediators may take notes to help them remember the facts. You can see these notes at any time and they will be destroyed at the end of the session. If both parties feel more comfortable with a written agreement then we will provide one too.

The mediators will help the parties to draw up a simple statement outlining the key agreed areas. All parties will need to sign and date the agreement, which will also be signed by the mediators, and you can keep a copy for your records.

At the end of the meetings, the mediators will remind the parties that anything said or agreed during mediation cannot be discussed outside the meetings, unless both parties wish to discuss this with a manager or their referrer if not a self-referral.

Step 4 - After mediation

The mediators will contact all the parties after approximately three months to check how things are progressing. Our Co-ordinator will send a feedback form to both parties to feed back on the mediator’s performance and the service we provided. This information is confidential and will only be used to improve the mediation service.

Take a look at our mediation case studies to see how mediation can help you.

I found it to be a useful process.