Concerns and Complaints Procedure Appendix 3: Mediation Guidance
Mediation as a means to conciliation and resolution:
- It is a key practice principle of ACAT’s Concerns and Complaints Procedure, that “informal resolution of concerns and complaints is encouraged at all stages in the process, as far as is compatible with public safety”. This key practice principle seeks to respect and promote both parties’ ability and will to satisfactorily resolve the matter themselves, and thereby obviating escalation to the more formal stages of the Concerns and Complaints process, which are necessarily more complicated, lengthy and potentially stressful.
- Mediation is where a third party, a mediator, is introduced with the consent of both parties, to assist them to achieve conciliation and informal resolution. The mediator will variously facilitate communication between the two parties, by acting as a go-between with written / verbal messages ; by telephone / teleconferencing ; or by face to face three-way meetings.
- Mediation is a process, which needs to be undertaken with some interpersonal skill and where the mediator is trusted, by both parties, to be unbiased and well intentioned. The mediator therefore needs to have been previously uninvolved in the matter. S/he may be an ACAT member or a member of a similar organisation, so long as s/he is judged to have suitable interpersonal skills, either formally accredited as a mediator or not.
- In ACAT’s Concerns and Complaints Procedure, the person who commissions mediation will be the Chair of the Ethics Panel at the informal (Initial Screening) stage, or the Chair of either the Investigation Panel or the Adjudication Panel at the formal stages.
- The person who arranges the mediation, and oversees reporting arrangements to the commissioner of the mediation, is the Concerns and Complaints Officer. The Concerns and Complaints Officer will have recourse to a small pool of mediators, deemed suitable to undertake the role.
- If mediation is successful, the mediator drafts a Conclusion Agreement for the complainant and therapist to sign, and submits it via the Concerns and Complaints Officer to the commissioner. The commissioner may accept the Agreement and arrange for implementation and monitoring by the Concerns and Complaints Officer, or reject it and (re)start the Concerns and Complaints Procedure.
- If mediation is unsuccessful, the mediator submits a report to the Commissioner via the Concerns and Complaints Officer, outlining why so, and prospects for any further informal resolution. The commissioner will then decide whether to move (back) into formal Concerns and Complaints Procedure.
Approved at the ACAT AGM on 11 July 2014