Mediation is an informal conversation designed to solve a problem. Mediation is a voluntary, confidential process, facilitated by a third party. We believe mediation can encourage creative solutions to challenging issues and is fundamentally about the restoration of relationships. At Mediation Northern Ireland, we specialise in workplace and community mediation and in helping organisations set up their own mediation service. We practice both facilitative and transformative mediation and we have developed our own processes and techniques over the past thirty years. If you are looking for a family mediation service, please visit our friends and colleagues at Family Mediation NI.
According to the Labour Relations Agency, workplace conflict is costing Northern Ireland employers £850 million per year. Workplace conflict can constitute a wide variety of experiences; from a low-level difference of opinion, to serious incidents of bullying or harassment.
We believe that if used at the right time, mediation can be a powerful process to help with the challenges associated with workplace conflict.
Mediation is fundamentally about the restoration of relationships. It is a confidential, voluntary, third party alternative dispute resolution process. Using mediation as an early intervention can help colleagues work through a difficult issue together before it damages their relationship, or escalates into something requiring a more formal approach. Mediation can also be useful as colleagues seek to re-establish a working relationship following a formal human resources process; for example, after addressing an allegation of bullying.
An experienced workplace mediator would meet separately with those involved in the conflict, in a private conversation, to assess how mediation might assist. If proceeding, we agree the design of the mediation intervention with the organisation. It is helpful, at that stage, to set dates for subsequent meetings so the case can proceed efficiently, recognising that participants will need to set time aside in their diaries. The content of the mediation and any agreement reached remain confidential to the parties – though they may collectively choose to share some or all of the agreement and any points of learning with their organisation.
If we believe that mediation is a suitable process for you and your organisation we base our costings on an initial ten hour intervention. If – and when – we cross this threshold, we will work in partnership with you and your team to agree upon the best way forward for all parties. Please contact us to hear more about how we can help.
When conflict arises within or between communities, it can be useful to have experienced community mediators available to help handle sensitive issues. Mediation gives support while protecting the self-determination of participants – so they can keep more control of what needs to happen in their situation. Mediation NI uses a co-mediation model for cases where it would be important to understand conflicting perspectives from different community backgrounds, so those insights can be reflected in the team. We have experience working on interface issues in Belfast and elsewhere, and on topics including housing, parades, protests, flags, policing and provision of shared services.
SET UP A SERVICE
As a mediation development agency, we specialise in supporting organisations as they set up their own internal mediation service. Come and talk with us about what you need, which could include elements such as:
- Training your mediation team to meet professional standards
- Supporting your organisation as you set up the internal service: considering how mediation is embedded alongside other internal processes and how the team and cases are managed.
- Training staff in the wider organisation in Conflict Skills and Mediation Awareness.
- Providing case cnsultation supervision and/or reflective practice for your mediators.
- Mentoring and coaching support.
- Co-working with an experienced mediator alongside your internal team members if they need support for their first few cases.
Every organisation is different, so we would like to customise the support provided through careful consultation.
We believe in a systemic approach to conflict resolution and we offer a range of services to help people and organisations get better at dealing with conflict. These range from conflict coaching to facilitated dialogue. These services can work in parallel or separate to a mediation process.
Conflict coaching is a one-to-one process that helps you or a colleague become ‘unstuck’ when you’re in a difficult situation due to conflict.
Conflict coaching asks:
- What usually happens when you are in conflict?
- What are the costs and the benefits, to you and others, of your approach?
- How would you like to respond when you are in conflict?
- What is happening interpersonally, organisationally, contextually and culturally in the conflict?
Conflict coaching can be useful in a variety of circumstances, including conflicts in the workplace, community disputes, family disagreements, or business conflicts. The coach can serve as a confidential listener, helping the individual to see the situation from all perspectives, support them in considering options, and help to come up with a plan of action to deal with the conflict.
Conflict coaching can be used before, during, after or instead of a mediation process.
We have a wide variety of associated coaches accredited by the International Coaching Federation and with the CINERGY® conflict management coaching model.
Facilitation is the process of making something possible or easier. Facilitated dialogue is a structured conversation between two or more parties to guide them through a contentious dialogue towards a shared understanding. A facilitator is a person who helps a group of people to work together better and to understand their common objectives.
Facilitated dialogue asks:
- Who needs to be present to the dialogue?
- How can people be invited to participate?
- What is the end goal?
- What makes that goal contentious?
The facilitator helps people share their thoughts, feelings, and experiences with one another in a confidential space.
Accompaniment is the provision of one-to-one support that offers a listening ear, an alternative perspective and reassurance during a difficult dispute or change process.
- How are you feeling?
- What do you want to talk about?
- What would help?
Accompaniment is a strategy for supporting individuals and communities.
If your team or organisation is having difficulties with conflict, we will work with you to design a bespoke intervention package to help. Depending on your circumstances this package could include:
- Difficult conversation training
- Workplace conflict resolution skills training
- Conflict coaching
- Thomas–Kilmann Conflict Mode Instrument assessment
- Myers-Briggs Assessment
- Updating grievance policies
Alongside our conflict resolution services and training, we support practitioners who are actively engaged in the field, whether it be directly with ourselves or elsewhere. Our primary aim is to ensure the highest standards of service to the parties involved in disputes.
We do this through offering CPD events, professional supervision, mentoring, coaching and support with our online case management system.
CONTINUING PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT (CPD)
Continuing Professional Development ensures that practitioners continually pay attention to their own personal development. Once your training has finished your journey as a reflective practitioner begins. Mediation Northern Ireland hold CPD events for active practitioners to help promote best practice and offer developmental opportunities.
Our next CPD event will be published shortly.
Professional Practice Supervision is based on the 3 legged stool supervision style, that means it offers practitioner’s the possibility for normative, formative and restorative work. It is intended to improve the quality of a practitioner’s work and enhance their development as a mediator.
Open professional practice supervision is offered as group supervision. This is offered monthly online and in person. One-to-one professional practice supervision is also available on request.
CODE OF PRACTICE
The code of practice exists to ensure best practice in the delivery of all our services and training.
We adhere to the following areas of responsibility within our professional code (based on the European Code for Mediators)
- Trained and adequately experienced to practice independently.
- Clear and accurate case referral procedures in place.
- Case work has adhered to duty of care standards.
- Case evaluations are completed and are duly considered.
- There has been due care and professionalism in all aspects of the case handling.
- There is clear evidence of value for money.
- All practitioners have been accountable to ethical practice throughout the case.
As an organisation we are aligned with the Mediators’ Institute of Ireland’s Code of Ethics and Practice for Mediators. The Code applies to all mediators no matter where they mediate, nationally, internationally or online. You can download a copy here.
We also adhere to the European Code of Conduct for Mediation Providers available here.
PROGRAMMES AND EVENTS
The work of Mediation Northern Ireland goes beyond our core activities of conflict resolution and training services. Our practices for making peace include programmes and events that cultivate peacebuilding in Northern Ireland and beyond.Below you can find out more about our practices of peace, other services we provide (such as room hire) and some of the past programmes that the organisation has been involved in.
Mediation Northern Ireland offers low cost room hire in South Belfast. Our rooms are suitable for training, meetings, interviews, and assessment centres. Our rooms available are:
The Foyle Suite
With mostly soft seating, this comfortable room provides the perfect space for your group’s event when comfort and setting are the key ingredients. This room benefits from natural light, leather seats and a fixed whiteboard along with several power points.
The Lagan Suite
This multi-purpose space can host a range of events. With tables in place, it represents the typical Board room providing a comfortable meeting space. With tables removed the room works well as a more informal meeting space, or training room. This room benefits from natural light, a fixed whiteboard and several power points. Apple TV and webcam facilities are also available.
For more information, room photos, prices and a booking form, please contact us.
HISTORY & PAST PROGRAMMES
At a workshop on “Mediation Skills in Conflict” in 1985 a small group of practitioners saw the potential for mediation in the Northern Ireland situation. By 1987 they had launched the Northern Ireland Conflict and Mediation Association (NICMA), with the aim of promoting the use of mediation through training. The organisation was constituted and charitable status sought in 1991.
Throughout the years, the organisation continued its work in various sectors and at many levels in our society (an approach now known as ‘systemic’). One of the significant achievements of Mediation Northern Ireland’s work has been to maintain relevance and credibility in many sectors (community, business, statutory, public and political). Furthermore, it has demonstrated the possibility of being an independent, impartial indigenous organisation in a historically divided and conflicted society.
As the end to violence approached and arrived, the organisation used mediation approaches to provide key strategic leaders the space to creatively consider the challenges they faced. The more structured, and long-term, of these processes were Good Relations Forums.
Since the turn of the century the cumulative learning from this work was used in the North West of England to develop new practice on cohesion issues helping local practitioners working on contention and dysfunction in local relations, including ‘Guns & Gangs’ specific issues.
This approach to local relations was subsequently used in Northern Ireland through our Social Partnership Programme, a 6 year programme to develop capacity to deal with contentious issues locally through improved partnership between community, statutory and public bodies, and a local mediation resource.
Our MOST programme worked for 3 years on three distinct and interlinking strands. Firstly, Transnational Good Practice Exchanges for practitioners in Northern Ireland and Europe. Secondly, Action Learning and Networking. Thirdly, informing good practice.
If you would like to find out more about our history and past programmes of work, please contact us.