Mediation is a tool that would resolve many issues, preventing them escalating to unmanageable proportions
Local Authorities and Mediation
Since the signing of the Dispute Resolution Commitment by the Coalition Government, the Attorney General's Office and the Ministry of Justice in May 2011, Local Authorities have been encouraged to use mediation and to educate their staff in dispute resolution. (Bullet point 9).
A significant proportion of local authorities spend a great deal of time and money on grievance procedures where mediation could save both. Where mediation is used, a success rate of 90% is recorded, and for Peaceworks, this is even higher.
The Coalition Government are committed to mediation as a means of resolving disputes in the workplace and are currently working to ensure that mediation is part of the process. The recent publication called Resolving Workplace Disputes: Government Response to the Consultation" sets out this commitment, showing how the proposals for mediation will be taken forward.
As with all developments in government, the Dispute Resolution Commitment (DRC) was preceded by the DTI's Gibbons Report of 2007. At the time of writing, the Gibbons report stated that "dispute resolution was costing the Government £120 million a year."
These are very sobering figures, and prompted the train of events that led up to the signing of the DRC. With so much public money being spent on resolving disputes, conflicts and grievances, it is time to take a different course of action and use mediation to avert these costly actions.
These are significant developments for Local Authorities as the Localism Act gathers momentum and brings in changes towards self-empowerment and the devolution of power away from central government.
The move towards the DRC can be seen as an extension of this self-empowerment. As Authorities become more self-determining, looking to their own resources to save yet more money, nipping conflict in the bud and saving the time and money involved in grievance is the way to achieve significant savings in the difficult economic climate of the times and the expensive grievance culture that can prevent effective management of conflict.
Peaceworks can help Authorities acheive those savings by forestalling the costly processes involved in grievances.
We are already designing bespoke courses for local authorities from Handling Difficult Conversations to Public Speaking and coping with difficult people in meetings. Our "Dealing with Difficult People" guide is a handy help for those occasions where challenging behaviour will be met.
Peaceworks have lots of experience in Local Authorities and can "hit the ground running" when it comes to tackling workplace conflict in the Public Sector.
If you would like to talk through your requirements for mediation or training, for either elected Members or officers, or both, do get in touch by calling 01243 820604 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
"A very enjoyable course with a good mix of theoretical and practical application in a safe and engaging learning environment - thank you!" Community Safety Manager, Arun District Council