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The Education (Additional Support for Learning) (Scotland) Acts 2004 & 2009: Consultation on Changes to the Secondary Legislation and Supporting Children's Learning Code of Practice

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Annex D Features of Mediation

The following features of mediation and performance evaluation have been provided by a range of mediation service providers.

Features

It is voluntary. It is important that the parties come to the table in good faith, with a will to settle the dispute. The dispute will only be resolved in mediation if the parties voluntarily decide on a way forward which is mutually acceptable.

It is confidential. This means that issues and ideas for resolution of the conflict can be discussed during the mediation without fear of them being used against the parties in the future if no agreement is reached.

Mediations are easily arranged. Usually it only takes a few phone calls for a session to be set up at a neutral venue. It is essential that all the people who have decision making responsibility about the dispute are available.

Mediations tend to be informal. The mediator is trained to make the meetings as accessible as possible for everyone involved.

It is balanced. Everyone has a fair chance to be heard. Mediation provides an opportunity for all the parties to say what is important to them and to hear the other party's perspectives.

The parties control the agenda and outcomes. The mediation approach is problem-solving rather than adversarial so creative options for settlement are often the result. In mediation, the parties speak for themselves and make their own decisions.

Monitoring and evaluation arrangements

Education managers with responsibility for mediation should ensure that evaluation takes place and that the findings are used to improve services. School personnel, authority officials, parents, young people, and mediators are all both stakeholders and informants - they provide information and, to differing degrees, use evaluation information to make decisions about future courses of action.

Performance

A qualitative evaluation process may be more appropriate for mediation. Some performance issues that are critical to the varying purposes of mediation evaluation are listed below:

Performance Areas

Key Performance Issues

Service Efficiency

Cost to participants

Time from referral to resolution

Service Effectiveness

Outcomes of mediation

Participant satisfaction with mediated outcomes

Durability of mediated outcomes

Impact on relationship between participants

Impartiality of the service

Mediation Process

Appropriateness & usefulness

Preparation process and materials

Fairness (opportunity to tell story, feeling understood, respectful treatment, control over outcomes)

Mediator Performance

Skills of the mediator

Knowledge of the mediator

Impartiality of the mediator