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CMC Workplace Mediation Conference

Grateful thanks to Caroline Sheridan and the Workplace Group at the CMC for organising an excellent conference on workplace mediation at the Bank of England last Thursday (4th October). The conference was opened by Sir David Foskett, current chair of the Civil Mediation Council, a trained mediator and a retired high court judge. He commented that throughout the time he was a judge he was faced time and time again with matters that could and should have been resolved through mediation.

A few pithy takeaways from other speakers: Martin Tiplady formerly head of HR at the Met Police commented that complaints procedures generally do not help achieve swift resolution, and that process in itself, although much loved by organisations, is no substitute for a solution.

Annette Andrews from Lloyds of London spoke of the difficulties of handling disputes between co-workers who did not necessarily have the same employer. Lloyds has thousands of member companies whose employees work in the building alongside Lloyds own employees, often with no common standards of conduct or behaviour. In her view, leadership is often lacking in organisations and she encourages management to set the right expectations.

Finally, Julie Dennis from ACAS quoted the cost to UK businesses and organisation due to workplace conflict and disputes. The figure is a staggering £18 billion in lost time, lost production, fees associated with disputes and settlements. £18 billion is more or less equal to the mythical £350 million a week…..

Mediation is quick, it works, and it is cost-effective.

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