by Laurie Anstis on January 23, 2012
In its response to the “Resolving Workplace Disputes” consultation, the government said, at para 27 and 29:
“We want to give businesses, particularly SMEs and Micros, access to mediation in a low-risk, low-cost way so that they can experience and have confidence in mediation as a resolution tool in the event of further workplace problems.
… we want to explore an area-wide approach, to develop mediation networks that run across sectors within a particular geographical area. So we will tackle the cost barrier to the use of mediation by funding mediation training for suitable candidates, from selected SMEs and Micros through a regional mediation training scheme. These new mediators will form local mediation networks in their respective regions and will be available to provide mediation at a low cost to other organisations in their network. We will involve local businesses in the design of the network, ensuring this new mediation service meets their needs and operates in line with their capabilities. We will develop this scheme as a regional pilot in the first instance, to ensure the delivery process is robust and subsequently evaluate the impact of increased access to mediation on workplace disputes within that region.”
The government have now made good on this proposal, with the announcement of pilot schemes to take place in Cambridge and Manchester.
As part of this proposal, the government is inviting tenders to train the proposed mediators.
The pilot schemes will run from 1 November 2012 to 31 October 2013. If successful, we can expect them to be extended across the whole country.