Mediation is when an independent and impartial third party helps people in a dispute to reach a mutually acceptable agreement. The mediators: • ensure that everyone has an equal chance to make their point, • ensure that everyone takes part in reaching a fair agreement which will work, • put a stop to any behaviour that prevents people from negotiating fairly.
We aim to complete the mediation process within 8 weeks for a Community case. Family mediations take longer as they involve more meetings with the families involved, but are usually completed within 12 weeks. Workplace mediation takes place over 2 separate days and is usually completed within a timescale of 8 weeks. The Restorative Justice programme work with the offender before they meet with the victim of their crime. The process can take up to 12 weeks.
We work with partner agencies who refer Community cases involving neighbour disputes to Smile, so there is no cost to you for our mediation service. There is a cost for the Family Systems programme – please contact us to discuss the details as the cost varies depending on the type of mediation you require.
Smile will contact you to arrange an initial meeting with two of our mediators at your home. They will listen to your issues and discuss all the options that are available to you. The mediators will also visit the other parties involved and listen to their issues. If all parties are willing, a joint meeting will be arranged at a neutral venue. Our mediators will be there and will explain the mediation process. The whole process is usually completed within 8 weeks.
- Preparation: During the initial visit the mediators will have asked you what you would like to happen and to think about the things you want to say at a meeting with the other parties. During the joint meeting, each party has uninterrupted time to explain how they see the situation and what they would like to happen.
- Exploring the Situation: The mediators explore what everyone wants and looks at ways of resolving the situation. These might include: • working through differences, • managing conflict, • helping to explore solutions, • preparing for the next steps.
- Making an agreement: The mediators will help you to come up with a solution that everyone can accept.
- Closure: We aim to end the session with an agreement which is acceptable to everyone.
If you proceed with mediation, you can still seek legal advice – that option is still available to you. The difference between mediation and legal routes is that you have a say about the outcome with mediation and the resulting agreement will be one that you are happy with, rather than one that has been imposed on you. Also, with mediation there are no costs involved for you if your case has been referred by one of our partner agencies. We aim to complete mediations within 8 weeks, which is generally quicker than taking an issue through court.
Only if you are willing to do so. Mediation works when you have the opportunity to explain how the situation is affecting you to your neighbour. You will also have the chance to hear what they say. The mediators keep the meeting in line with the process and the meeting will be at a neutral venue, so everyone is treated fairly.
Your case may be referred to us by the Council, the police, a housing authority or other agency. Everything you tell us in treated in the strictest confidence and we do not disclose anything to the referrer without your permission. The only exception we make to this is if you tell us something that may harm the safety and well-being of somebody, or if it is illegal.
During the face to face meeting, we discuss ways of communicating with the other parties in the future and consider how you might approach the situation should there be any further occurrence. In 95% of the cases we deal with the problem is resolved and people do not report any repeating issues.