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Choosing the right mediator

Posted on by Katy Russell

Many organisations are aware of the effectiveness of mediation as intervention to resolve challenging workplace conflict. The parties to the conflict are usually highly emotional and there is typically a risk of more formal processes or litigation if the situation cannot be improved. A skilled mediator is required, but how does an employer find the right mediator for the job?

Mediation is a growing service and many people are surprised to discover that the “profession” of mediation is not formally regulated. Anyone can call themselves a mediator and offer mediation services. However, since January 2008 there has been a system of accreditation in Australia through the National Mediator Accreditation Standards (“the NMAS”). The goal of the NMAS is to improve the quality of mediation services and assure consumers that practitioners are trained, assessed and qualified.

To become an Accredited Mediator, a person must undertake an approved training program and then have their skills assessed by an accreditation body. To maintain accreditation the mediator must conduct minimum number of hours of mediation and undertake continuing professional development.

When looking for a workplace mediator, it is recommended to consider the following:

  • What is the experience of the mediator?

Any Livingstones mediator will work exclusively in workplace conflict and understand the legal and industrial relations context of the dispute.

  • Is the person accredited under the National Mediator Accreditation Standards?

Livingstones can provide an accredited mediator. Katy Russell, has been accredited since the NMAS were introduced in 2008.

  • What standards of conduct does the mediator follow?

There are Practice Standards under the NMAS which accredited mediators are bound to follow. A mediator who does not comply with the Standards may be suspended from accreditation.

  • Can the mediator provide a neutral location for the mediation session?

Many workplaces lack private meeting spaces. The mediation can be conducted at Livingstones’ offices to keep the process as confidential as possible.

  • How does the mediator charge?

Livingstones charges on the basis of either a fixed fee or an hourly rate. We can provide a quote for mediation services once we have an understanding of the context of the conflict.

For more information on resolving workplace conflict by mediation, please contact us on +61 7 38331200.

Written by Katy Russell

Katy Russell

As the Livingstones in-house expert in conflict resolution, resolving conflict is the main focus of Katy’s consulting role. She uses a strategic approach to diagnose the root causes of conflict and develops inventive, yet practical, advice to manage difficult situations. Katy thrives on the challenge of converting difficult situations and people issues into successful outcomes. Her extensive background and experience in industrial relations and law means she understands the context of complaints and grievances.

Her interest in conflict resolution led her to train as a mediator in 2005 and she is accredited under the National Mediator Accreditation System. She has also seen first-hand the benefits that flow to organisations and individuals from enhanced interpersonal skills and the application of effective preventive measures.

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