Annex D Features of Mediation
The following features of mediation and performance evaluation have been provided by a range of mediation service providers.
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.
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:
Key Performance Issues
Cost to participants
Time from referral to resolution
Outcomes of mediation
Participant satisfaction with mediated outcomes
Durability of mediated outcomes
Impact on relationship between participants
Impartiality of the service
Appropriateness & usefulness
Preparation process and materials
Fairness (opportunity to tell story, feeling understood, respectful treatment, control over outcomes)
Skills of the mediator
Knowledge of the mediator
Impartiality of the mediator