Mediation at the University of Sheffield

Introduction

The University of Sheffield is committed to encouraging harmonious working relationships between colleagues and recognises that this will have a positive impact on staff and student wellbeing and performance at work.

The University aims to support managers and staff to work together to resolve disputes and conflicts at a local level to ensure minimum disruption to the delivery of the University’s mission and vision and to maintain a high level of morale and performance.

Mediation is proven to be an effective tool for resolving interpersonal conflicts between colleagues, managers and their staff.

Where issues cannot readily be resolved by the parties involved and relationships breakdown, mediation can be an effective third party intervention.

Aims

Mediation is an informal means of resolving personal conflicts that can otherwise have a damaging impact on individuals, teams and the workplace environment.

Resolution through mediation seeks to find positive solutions and may avoid recourse to formal procedures that may entrench differences and make reconciliation less likely.

The focus of workplace mediation is the future working relationship between the parties; it is not a mechanism to determine who is right or wrong; is not a mechanism for apportioning blame or the dispensing of (disciplinary) sanctions against either party.

The University has a pool of ACAS qualified mediators that can be called upon to mediate in situations where this might be an effective intervention.

Key principles

The key principles of mediation are as follows:

  • All staff members may access mediation.
  • Participation in mediation is voluntary.
  • The mediation process is not prescriptive and can take many different forms.
  • Line managers may recommend mediation to any staff members experiencing conflict in a working relationship. Alternatively, staff members can request mediation directly.
  • Where mediation is deemed an appropriate course of action, a neutral mediator is allocated by the scheme co-ordinator to both parties.
  • Mediation meetings involve the participants engaged in the process and the mediator(s).
  • The mediation process and its outcome remain confidential between the participants unless they agree to share information with appropriate parties (e.g. line managers). The only exception to this principle of strict confidentiality is where there is a potential unlawful act or where there is evidence of serious risk to health and safety. In these circumstances the process will be terminated and the Mediation Coordinator informed.
  • Although it is hoped that mediation will resolve conflicts, it is an independent process, sitting outside University statutes and policies. As such, participation in mediation does not preclude recourse to formal procedures at any stage in the future. However, details of the agreement or mediation process are inadmissible in any formal procedure.

Information about the stages of the mediation process can be accessed via the link on the right.
To discuss access to the service, you should contact your customary HR Adviser.

Document Control
Last Update: 01/12
Date of Next Review: 01/14